Aspen Woolf looks at the most expensive versus the cheapest property in Leeds

For Sale Signs - Aspen Woolf

The North of England is having a resurgence in terms of regeneration, property development and a growing job market. There are more reasons than ever to invest in property in cities such as Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester, led by the Northern Powerhouse initiative.

Particularly since the vote to leave the European Union in June 2016, property investment across the UK has experienced a sea change. More and more investors are turning away from London and the South East as economic and political uncertainty shake a previously unwavering property market and setting their sights further up north.

Property hotspot

Leeds has become a prime property hotspot, thanks to a steady stream of city-centre regeneration and funding, along with a solid and thriving job market. Add in a bustling city centre packed with all the amenities young professionals look for, and a strong student population, it’s not surprising that investment in Leeds is constantly increasing.

At Aspen Woolf, we keep an eye on all the property investment news across cities including Leeds and have examined recent sales to get a picture of the kinds of prices people can expect.

Variety of property

The cheapest residential property that completed in March this year sold for just £36,500. At the other end of the scale, the buyers of the most expensive property sold in March paid more than 26 times this price.

This shows the sheer variety of options for people looking for property in Leeds. Whether investors are searching for the perfect buy-to-let property, or families are looking to move into a larger house, there is a scale of pricing available that isn’t seen in regions further south.Land Registry figures

The figures from HM Land Registry for March 2018 show that some property investors paid a lot of money for truly stunning properties situated in the city’s suburbs, while other people sought out and found bargains closer to the city centre.

The most expensive home sold in March was a detached house in the Boston Spa area of Leeds. It was sold for an impressive £975,000, providing a stark contrast with the cheapest flat sold for just £36,500.

UK-wide, across the same period, more than 90,000 homes were sold. The most expensive residential property on record sold for £15 million and is located in the London suburb of Barnet. The cheapest of all went for £20,000 in County Durham. This provides a good scale to measure Leeds prices by.

Detached properties

A closer look at what buyers in Leeds secured for their money can be seen by detailing some of the sales below. As mentioned, the most expensive property was located in Boston Spa. For £975,000 the buyer enjoyed a five-bedroom detached house in this leafy suburb of Leeds. Next on the list was another five-bed detached property in Foxhill Drive, Leeds, which sold for £747,000.

Another five-bed detached family home, this time in the Adel area of Leeds, sold for £650,000 and a four-bed detached home in Boston Spa went for £521,555. A lovely four-bed home in the outlying Leeds village of Shadwell sold for £515,000 and another Adel four-bed detached went for £499,995.

Bargain buys

Turning towards the cheaper end of the market, the biggest bargain was the flat sold for £36,500 in the Hunslet area of Leeds. Another flat in Lower Wortley sold for £37,250 and a terraced two-bed home for £40,000 in Lascelles Place.

No matter what kind of property buyers are looking for, Leeds is a good place to look. From apartments close to the always improving city centre amenities, to large detached homes in green suburbs, the variety available is comparable to that in the South East, but for much more affordable prices.

Investment Property Price Growth For Leeds

Leeds City Skyline view

Property investment in Leeds is increasing, and a new report by property consultancy experts JLL reveals that it’s not going to slow down any time soon.

Average investment property prices in Leeds city centre will increase by 3.5% over the course of 2018, according to the New Housing Paradigm report. The outlook for the next five years is even more positive with expectations of strong price growth at an average of 3.7% per annum.

Proving its legitimacy as part of the Northern Powerhouse and a viable alternative for property investors now looking outside of London, the level of growth expected in Leeds is second only to that projected for Manchester.

Average Rents To Rise

Rents for apartments in Leeds city centre remained flat during 2017, but it’s predicted that they will increase by 3.5% by the end of this year. Again, over the next five years, it’s expected that they will increase by 3.5% every year.

Leeds is the standout market for investors to keep their eye on over the next few years, and housing markets across Northern England are going to be among the strongest too.

London Market Stagnating

This rise of the Northern Powerhouse comes at a time when London is losing its grip as the number one choice for property investors. Its housing market is starting to stagnate, while market growth in the south of the country has been slowly starting to stabilise thanks to high property prices deterring potential investors.

London is still a key market of course, but there is no doubt that the rising interest in property investment across the north is signalling the start of a new phase for the UK’s property market.

Infrastructure Investment

Anyone who has been keeping an eye on developments across Northern England will have seen extensive redevelopment and investment in key infrastructure. Excellent and improving travel links, a relatively buoyant job market and much more affordable housing than in the south of England, have all combined to turn people’s attention to the north.

There is also a marked rising demand in Leeds specifically for the ‘build-to-rent’ market. This is fuelled by the influx of young professionals eager to enjoy the benefits of living and working in a major city, as well as a stream of affluent students willing to pay for a high level of accommodation.

Build-To-Rent Market

There are currently 3,500 build-to-rent units in addition to the 2,000 private sale units sitting in the development pipeline, all due for completion relatively soon.

Historically, this rental demand has been under-served, and this new influx of build-to-rent units will satisfy the need. Manchester has seen this particular asset class perform extremely well, and it’s likely that Leeds will follow suit.

Over the next few years, we expect to see landlords and developers working to optimise this market model.

Why 2018 Is A Good Year to Invest In Leeds Property

Clarence Dock, Leeds

When you’re considering property investment, either as someone new to the game or a seasoned investor, you need to know the latest on the market. Property hotspots alter frequently, depending on many factors, including the wider economic impact and regional investment.

Whether you’re looking to invest in a buy-to-let property, a holiday home or want to add to your existing portfolio, looking at Leeds is a good idea.

Property Investment In Leeds

Why 2018 Is A Good Year to Invest In Leeds Property Aspen Woolf

Bang in the heart of the much-discussed ‘Northern Powerhouse’, Leeds has had a good year in terms of its housing market. House prices have continued to rise throughout 2017, from a relatively low base level.

The obvious area of Leeds to invest in property is the city centre. It’s booming, and in a time where London is falling off the top spot for investment with house prices falling and owners struggling to sell, it’s a solid area to for investors to look at. Most people gravitate towards Leeds city centre, particularly young professionals, students and families. Being close to extensive and impressive amenities in a city that has a good offering of jobs, is a real draw in 2018. Naturally, this means that property prices are higher in the centre of the city, and there are many further outlying areas that offer lower prices.

Demand For Property Still Rising

The local population of Leeds has increased sharply in recent years, and driven up demand for property from buyers, renters and investors. Demand continues to outweigh supply at the moment and this is likely to continue throughout the year. The increase in demand is also showing in the suburbs, as people start to look for more value for their money.

There are plenty of developments underway, with thousands of new homes currently under construction across the city. These aim to bridge the gap between supply and demand in Leeds, where the average house price is now £164,800.

Transport And Infrastructure Improving

Why 2018 Is A Good Year to Invest In Leeds Property Aspen Woolf

Image credit: Tim Green via Flickr

As well as all the activity around boosting the provision of residential, commercial and student properties, there are other signs Leeds is on the rise. There are wide-ranging plans and investment in improving transport facilities, including a revamp of Leeds train station.

The station forms part of a larger vision to completely transform the South Bank area, which stretches from the ‘urban village’ of Holbeck to Leeds Docks. This is aimed at increasing Leeds’ international popularity as well as be a base for the creation of thousands of new jobs and homes.

Strategic Economic Plan

Leeds train station will become an important transport hub for the city, the wider region and the north of England in its entirety. High Speed 2 (HS2) and HS3 have a large role to play in the long term strategic economic plan for the city.

Overall, Leeds is an increasingly vibrant city, offering a growing range of employment opportunities. The city’s retail sector is expanding as are the financial and services sectors, all of which is continuing to attract more people to the region.

All of these factors are combining to boost the need for more property in Leeds, making it the ideal place to invest money in during 2018.

Why Leeds Is Set To Boom In 2018

The Woodhouse district near Leeds University is one example of a great place to invest.

We’ve named Leeds as the number one property hotspot in the north in our analysis reports. As we move into 2018, it’s looking rosy for the property market as a whole in the north of England, but Leeds is the jewel in the investment crown.

With a growing student population, strong innovative business hubs, a plethora of tech start-ups, new developments in the city centre and much more, its success is only going to grow as we move through a new year.

Economic Growth

Why Leeds Is Set To Boom In 2018 Aspen Woolf

While the economy is looking uncertain across the UK thanks to the changes we’re undergoing while leaving the EU, the local outlook in Leeds is promising. The investment in revitalising the city centre, and the establishment of new, affordable residential accommodation will continue to attract interest from commercial, private and student renters this year.

Major Regeneration

There are many development projects still underway, and more in the pipeline. A great example is the revamp of the South Bank, which will deliver purpose-built, high quality and spec city centre accommodation.

More working professionals and the younger generation are waking up to the fact that the North is the centre of positive change. As jobs bring new eager groups of people to cities like Leeds, the demand for apartments and homes in the city centre is constantly rising.

Developments Underway

Now the festive season has finished, various developments will begin to progress. Kirkstall Forge is a big project with more than 1,000 apartments and homes built on a 57-acre site.

The stalled Hilton Hotel development has also restarted, thanks to a new acquisition of the Woodhouse Lane site by Vita Leeds 2 (part of the Select Property Group). The original shell is 14 storeys, and this is set to increase to 16. It will house 312 studio apartments for students.

Expanding Regional Economy

All of these developments have been helped by the success of the economy across the wider region of West Yorkshire. Now worth £50 billion, the regional economy has expanded by 40% since 2007.

Our CEO, Oliver Ramsden says: “The value of property in the city is undeniable. Leeds sees strong demand for high quality and luxury accommodation for both professionals and students. Our own developments, including The Pavilion and Trinity Hall, are delivering rental yields of eight per cent.”

Foreign Direct Investment

Why Leeds Is Set To Boom In 2018 Aspen Woolf

Leeds is the fastest growing region in the UK for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). In addition, the region is home to the fastest growing young population in the UK, and the largest workforce outside of the capital.

More than 3 million people live within Leeds City Region, and more than 7 million are within an hour’s commute.

Great Value Property

Total office costs in Leeds are 50% lower than those in London. With a talented and innovative workforce, plenty of youth and experience, and great value property, businesses are finding they can save money without cutting corners.

A number of key business sectors are booming in Leeds City Region, including Digital Tech, Advanced Manufacturing, Financial and Professional Services and Healthcare and Life Sciences.

High Investor Confidence

More than £13 billion worth of investment is currently in the pipeline or on site. According to Deloitte’s latest Leeds Crane Survey, 20 major construction projects were completed in 2016, including the highest amount of office space delivered to market since 2007.

Leeds is also a UK transport hub and incredibly well connected by air, sea, road and rail. London is just two hours away by train and one hour by air.

Reinventing A Northern Powerhouse

Leeds is moving towards a knowledge based economy faster than any other region in the UK. This is down to the strength of the education sector, with nine strong universities, a high level of graduate retention and an eager, ambitious pool of talent.

 

Check out our latest developments in Leeds.

Regeneration of Leeds City Centre Brings Investment Prospects

Leeds City Centre Birds Eye View

Leeds is undergoing a major transformation with regeneration projects being proposed in many different areas.

Capitalising on the popularity of the city as an attractive area for young professionals to get on the property ladder, the regeneration plans will continue to bring in people who have become disenchanted with the prices of properties in London and the South East.

Major Facelift Proposed

The area surrounding New Briggate and the Grand Theatre is a historically important, yet run down part of the city. Dating back to the 17th century, this area was considered the heart of Leeds and might be completely transformed if recent proposals are accepted.

Leeds City Council is submitting an application for the Townscape Heritage Programme, run by the UK’s Heritage Lottery Fund. If successful, it will be used to revamp the retail area around the Grand Theatre.

The Grand Quarter

Regeneration of Leeds City Centre Brings Investment Prospects Aspen Woolf

Initially developed in the 17th century by John Harrison, and further altered in the 19th century to become a leading cultural and commercial area of Leeds, the ‘Grand Quarter’ features various listed buildings.

These include the Grade 1 listed St John’s church and the Grade II listed Grand Arcade, which was designed and built in 1897. More recently, the area was allowed to decline due to under investment in commercial properties and by planning being dominated by vehicle access.

Transformation of Historic Buildings

Only 17% of the buildings are currently considered to be in good condition. The scheme looks to transform the area by matching funding from property owners and the HLF contribution to public area improvements.

This will also link in with the huge successes already enjoyed by the ‘Re-Making Leeds’ Programme, which is providing training opportunities for young people, and creating jobs in the building industry.

Student Accommodation

As well as retail and heritage developments, the boom in student housing is continuing in Leeds. London and Scottish Investments (LSSI) have announced that they’re going to expand into the city with proposals for a 17-storey tower block in the city centre.

The tower block, intended for student accommodation, will be built on the site of an ‘80s office block on Belgrave Street. LSSI plans to knock down the office building and replace it with a 17-storey building to house 325 student beds. They also plan amenities such as a gym, outdoor terrace and cinema room.

It’s another clear indication that the move to Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) has very much reached Leeds, and offers lots of investment opportunities. This proposed project will sit close to St Albans Place, a 376-bedroom building by developer Vita Student, due for completion in 2019.

Mixed Use Projects

Regeneration of Leeds City Centre Brings Investment Prospects Aspen Woolf

Image credit: Tim Green via Flickr

Caddick Developments has plans to regenerate part of the city centre with a £300 million project. They want to transform the Quarry Hill site (2.4 hectares) into a cultural centre surrounding the City College, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Leeds College of Music.

Named ‘SoYo’, the plans include two 16-storey residential blocks, intended for private rentals. Also within the plan are offices, a hotel, bars and restaurants, as well as an overhaul of the public spaces. Assuming approval, the developer wants to start the residential part of the project in spring 2018.

The College of Music itself is currently transforming its campus with a £57 million project, and the West Yorkshire Playhouse is going through a £14 million refurb.

Private Rentals

Dandara has engaged Interserve to deliver a £70 million project for 744 private rented apartments in Leeds. Consisting of four buildings on the southern side of the city centre, it achieved approval already in March 2015.

The apartments will be studio, one, two and three-bed, surrounded by landscaped ground and an underground purpose-built car park. Construction should complete in June 2019. Interserve is also responsible for constructing three schools in the city, with a combined value of £41 million.

South Bank Regeneration

Leeds City Council recommended a major redevelopment for approval. The regeneration of the old Tetley Brewery site on the South Bank includes 85,000 sq m of office space, 15,000 sq m of food, retail and leisure space, two hotels and 850 homes.

Led by Vastint, the UK arm of the developer has been working alongside the council for two years to get this far. They said that the scheme is a “significant regeneration opportunity” that will create “a large number of new homes, jobs and opportunities for investment”.

This number of high quality redevelopment schemes show exactly how much focus is on Leeds as a city with much to offer property investors, whether commercial, residential, or student housing.

Interested in investing. Check out our latest development,  Kirkstall Design Centre.

Why Leeds Is the Best Place in England for New Developments

Clarence Dock, Leeds

New research from Argyll Property Partners shows that Leeds is the best option in England for planning new build developments. The research covers aspects such as value, house price growth, demand for property and the likelihood of planning success.

New build properties in Leeds are worth over 40% more than properties that already exist in the city. In addition, the value of new homes in Leeds are also up 13% year on year.

More Property Sales

 

Why Leeds Is the Best Place in England for New Developments Aspen Woolf

Image credit: Tim Green via Flickr

Leeds is one of the largest local authorities in England, and as such, there are around four times as many property sales in the city compared to the average for England. Another sign that it’s a property hotspot for investors is that the planning authorities approve 95% of all major residential applications.

Second in line for the best city in terms of local authority approval for new build developers is Birmingham, which is followed then by Cornwall, County Durham, Wiltshire, Bradford, Bristol, Manchester and Liverpool. The worst local authority for new build developers was found to be Surrey Heath.

Property Values Growing

In addition to the bonus of understand local authorities, new build developers can benefit from high growth in property values. New builds in Leeds are seeing growth in double digits due to the increasing proliferation of job vacancies. This is driving up the demand for more homes in the area.

There are decent gaps between the prices of new builds when compared to existing homes, which means that there are good profits to be made. The transaction figures are high as well, suggesting that homes should be easy to buy and sell.

Building Encouragement

Why Leeds Is the Best Place in England for New Developments Aspen Woolf

The City Council in Leeds is one of the best in the country for encouraging new builds and developments. Major new projects are springing up all over the city suggesting that many house builders are discovering the opportunities Leeds offers.

Looking at the opposite end of the research, the report showed that high property prices in Surrey mean that developers must pay extremely high prices to secure a site. Compared with other areas of the country, new builds in Surrey Heath are worth around 23% less than existing properties in the same area.

In addition, and directly opposite to findings from Leeds, homes in Surrey Heath are more difficult to buy and sell. Transactions are 50% lower than the average and the local council only approves 75% of planning applications for new build developments.

Investors Benefit Up North

Investors should weigh up options around the country, and focus on the north of England for the best deals at the moment. As well as the statistics shown in the report, Leeds is fast becoming one of the hotspots for a generation of young professionals.

The jobs are there, the regeneration of the city is there, and the space is there for new projects. Add in a sympathetic local council looking to actively increase the new house building developments, and you have a prime location for developers and investors.

If you’re looking to invest, then why not learn more about our latest investment opportunity in Leeds – Kirkstall Design Centre.

Trinity Hall, Leeds – See It Take Shape!

trinity hall leeds property investment

Who doesn’t love seeing things they feel passionately about taking shape? Whether it’s art unfolding to an artist, business successes to an entrepreneur, personal bests for an athlete, or just something small like seeing results after finally joining the gym. Well, this is how we feel when we see our developments take form. It’s almost like watching your own child grow up. It all starts so slow, and then all of a sudden you can’t believe how much has changed in such a short time.

This is why we’re excited to be able to say that construction is now underway on Trinity Hall! Don’t worry, if you’re the type of person that would rather skip ahead to the pictures, then you can check out the gallery below to see Trinity Hall take shape.

For anyone not yet aware of what Trinity Hall is, it’s one of newest UK student property investments located in the popular city of Leeds. It comes with larger than average units that also feature coveted double occupancy. Meaning that couples that want to share finally can! It’s hard if not near impossible to find student accommodation that facilitates double occupancy. As the demand for more purpose built student housing has surged over recent years so has the increased demands brought forth by students. They want something close, ultra modern, and now also want to be able to share if they are in a relationship for example. This is why Trinity Hall is here – to fill those gaps in the market, and many more.

Trinity Hall is also one of the closest student developments to educational facilities, making it just a 5 minute walk to the University of Leeds and a short 12 minutes away from the City Centre.

Some units even come fully ‘Smart’ equipped. We won’t go into a huge amount of detail there as it can be a bit techy, but let’s just say that it is definitely the future of housing! To give you a taste, you can remotely control things such as heating from your phone anywhere, even whilst doing your weekly shop. We had the privilege to test out some of the features and they’re just incredible, makes us envious of what students these days really get!

If you’re the type of person that tends to be a bit hesitant about 100% off-plan investments, but still yearn to take advantage of off-plan prices, then Trinity Hall might just be the solution for you. With construction already underway it makes Trinity Hall a secure investment with units starting at just £69,995. Once construction for phase one is complete prices will rise with it, so it might be worth your while to see what is still available.

Trinity Hall, Leeds - See It Take Shape! Aspen Woolf

August 2015 – Site Cleared
Trinity Hall, Leeds - See It Take Shape! Aspen Woolf

August 2015 – Ready For Piling
Trinity Hall, Leeds - See It Take Shape! Aspen Woolf

September 2015 – Piling Has Begun
Trinity Hall, Leeds - See It Take Shape! Aspen Woolf

September 2015 – Piling Complete!

At the end of the day, Trinity Hall offers so much more than just a great place to live and study. It’s a place for students in Leeds to come to make the most out of their time at university and a development investors can profit from for years to come. If you would like more information about Trinity Hall or any other developments to date please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Alternatively you can read more about Trinity Hall directly by clicking here.

Investing In Student Property in Leeds

investment student accommodation

A Guide to Investing In Student Property in Leeds

Our guide to student property in Leeds aims to give prospective investors an insight into the fantastic opportunities available in this constantly evolving part of West Yorkshire. We’ll take a look at the local area and its economic development, as well as exploring why the many opportunities for further education in Leeds are capable of attracting students from all over the world. Let’s jump straight in.

Leeds at a glance

The West Yorkshire city of Leeds has seen some dramatic changes over recent years. The former mill town has developed into a buzzing cultural hub and the youthful urban scene is a major contributing factor to the city’s growing popularity with students.

With a population in excess of 750,000, Leeds is the third largest city in the UK and it boasts the fourth largest urban economy, trailing only to London, Manchester and Birmingham.

Transport links to the city are good too. Leeds Bradford International Airport is a mere 7 miles northwest of the city centre and the road network includes M62/M621 for easy access to Manchester in the west and Hull in the east. The M1 can be picked up south of the city too, conveniently connecting this part of West Yorkshire with The South.

Local economy

One of the biggest changes the city has seen over recent years is the driving force behind its economy. Once predominantly a manufacturing city, Leeds has now flipped over to become a largely service-based economy. The financial and services industry was reported to be worth £2.1 billion back in 2011 and with around 150 law firms in the city, Leeds is now widely regarded as having a legal market second only to London.

Banking is another huge player in the overall economy of the city. Leeds has over 30 national and international banks based within its boundaries, many of which are extremely large operations. First Direct, for instance, has its headquarters here.

Despite the dramatic change from manufacturing to the service sector, Leeds is remarkably still the third largest manufacturing centre in the United Kingdom. Around 1,800 manufacturing firms are based within the city, employing in excess of 39,000 workers (just under 9% of the entire city’s workforce); however many of the traditional industries, such as wool mills and iron foundries, have now been replaced by modern businesses. Amongst the biggest in the area are chemical and medical technology providers, printing and publishing houses and many companies from the food and drinks industry.

Retail is another huge contributor to the city’s economy. Several large shopping centres can now be found in and around Leeds and it is thought that the figure for those working in retail is now well over 40,000. However, 75% of those in the retail sector are no longer based in the city centre itself; further proof of the changing economic landscape of the region and the country as a whole.

Urban regeneration

Leeds has changed beyond all recognition over the last 30 years or so. Many of the formerly rundown areas of the city are now pristine and they’re attracting young professionals in their droves. Thanks to the changing face of the economic sectors driving the city’s growth, Leeds now has a new dynamic that is bringing in (and retaining) some of the United Kingdom’s brightest talent.

Areas such as the banks of the Leeds-Liverpool canal have been transformed, with many new properties adorning the towpath alongside fabulous renovated warehouse dwellings. City professionals are now able to live within a stone’s throw of their offices, and the knock-on effect to other properties in the area has been positive.

Proposed developments

Leeds City Council has put forward plans to change the housing landscape of the region over the coming decade. The city’s current housing shortage is expected to worsen over the next few years as demand grows at an unprecedented rate.

The proposals, which were made in early 2015, would see an additional 66,000 homes built in the city by 2028 – an investment that would certainly benefit the city as a whole. However, many of the proposed locations have been seen as controversial and have even been met with resistance from some quarters.

If the proposals do go through, further investment in the local infrastructure is expected to follow. The prospect of new schools, transport links and improved healthcare facilities could see demand rise further still in the city.

Why choose to invest in Leeds?

As one of the three points that make up the ‘Golden Triangle of The North’ or ‘Betty’s Triangle’ (named after the famous tearooms) as the locals affectionately refer to it, Leeds is an investor’s paradise.

Thanks to the booming financial district, Leeds has become an extremely affluent city. Corporate giants such as RBS and Direct Line have boosted the West Yorkshire city’s economy no end and they’ve created a buzz that has attracted canny investors from this country and abroad.

Much of the renowned Golden Triangle’s (with Harrogate and York being the other points) property portfolio performed very well during the economic downturn. In fact, many properties saw an increase in value when the rest of the country was struggling to maintain theirs.

Where other towns and cities in the north rely heavily on attracting tourists to boost the local economy, Leeds’ wealth is predominantly home-grown. As more and more companies like Asda Walmart, Capita and First Direct choose to base their headquarters there, so the talent pool grows. Even the Bank of England has its second office here!

Alongside this is a growing international airport that connects the city to America, Europe and North Africa, as well as great road and rail links to the rest of the United Kingdom. Proposals have also been made to build a HS2 station as part of a massive regeneration project that will see Leeds South Bank completely transformed.

Investing in Leeds is an opportunity not to be missed. The city’s educational facilities rival many of the countries other seats of learning and the burgeoning economy looks set to retain many graduates once they complete their degrees. This increase in talent can only push Leeds’ already thriving city economy further forward over the coming years.

The city’s seats of learning

Leeds boasts three universities as well as many other institutions offering further education to those from the city and beyond. In fact, the student population of the city is ever growing and a good percentage of those studying in Leeds are foreign students – prime candidates for the rental market.

To get a better feel for the city’s educational landscape, let’s take a look at the three universities in a little more depth:

University of Leeds

The University of Leeds is the largest of the three in terms of student numbers. Over 30,000 people study here, making it the eighth largest university in the UK with respect to those who pass through its doors each year.

Situated within walking distance of Leeds city station and the city centre, this university has students from all over the world within its community. Former students have come from 186 different countries across the globe and there are currently 146 different nationalities studying here.

Students are not the only ones to benefit from the University of Leeds’ existence. The local community is helped out by around 2,000 student volunteers and it is estimated that £1.23 billion is pumped into the local economy each and every year. There is also an additional £211 million spent by students per year on rent and living costs.

The University of Leeds has an extremely proactive student union with over 250 clubs and societies in operation. They are also the only student union in the country to have received two gold standard awards for the Students’ Union Evaluation Initiative.

Leeds Beckett University

The second largest university in Leeds, Beckett has two campuses; one located in the city centre and the other in nearby Headingley. Formerly known as Leeds Metropolitan University and Leeds Polytechnic, Leeds Beckett has over 28,000 students on its books and is a major contributor to the local economy.

An estimated £477 million is contributed year on year from the university into the economy and they employ around 2,900 members of staff. Just as with the University of Leeds, students travel from far and wide to take their place and there are currently students from almost 100 different countries studying a vast array of subjects.

The university has an outstanding success rate too for those who have studied there. A survey undertaken by Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) showed that 95.5% of UK postgraduates were either in work or higher education six months after leaving the university.

Leeds Trinity University

Based in Horsforth, Leeds Trinity University is the smallest of the three universities by quite a margin. Nevertheless, with only 3,000 students, Leeds Trinity punches above its weight in terms of success and satisfaction.

The Sunday Times ranked Leeds Trinity in the top 10% UK institutions for teaching excellence and the overall satisfaction of students is high at 86%, above the national average.

Leeds Trinity has recently stated that they aim to deliver growth in the amount of foreign students that they serve by establishing international partnerships with other like-minded institutions across the globe.

With so much interest in the city’s educational facilities, it’s little wonder that the student property market is seeing such impressive returns on investment.

Student life: Why Leeds is so popular

As we’ve already touched on, Leeds is on the up. The city has shed its once dour image and is fast becoming one of the UK’s cultural hotspots. Couple this with the fantastic further education opportunities on offer and it’s easy to see why students are choosing Leeds over many of the other major university cities in Britain.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why students are making Leeds their first choice:

Things to do

With its rich and long established heritage, Leeds is an amazing place to live. For those with a passion for a little retail therapy it’s hard to beat, and many regard Leeds as one of the finest shopping cities in the north of England. Shopping centres are plentiful, but there is also a large community of independent traders with vintage stores and tiny boutiques popping up across the city.

Food is another draw. Forget the chain restaurants (although they’re all here), once again it’s the independents that steal the show. Cafes and small family run restaurants have some incredible edibles to keep even the most ardent foodie happy.

Leeds also has a good selection of cinemas too; from mainstream blockbuster screeners through to more low-key productions shown at the very highly regarded Hyde Park Picture House – there’s something for everyone here.

For those looking for a sportier way to pass the time, Leeds doesn’t disappoint. With plenty of places to play and watch all manner of sports (the football and rugby teams being particularly famous), students can fill their time easily in and around the city.

After dark

Naturally, students are going to flock to a city with fantastic nightlife and Leeds certainly provides that. As with the many daytime activities, the nightlife in the West Yorkshire city is eclectic and interesting. Chain establishments sit side-by-side with quirky bars and clubs, making Leeds one of the finest cities in the UK for a night out.

Live music has a great scene here too. As well as being the joint host of the annual “Reading and Leeds festival”, Leeds also boasts the O2 Academy (just off Millennium Square). To cap it off, Leeds is home to a multitude of smaller music venues that give the city the diversity so many students crave.

Another Reason To Look At Leeds

Leeds Property Investment

The £150m Victoria Gate development in Leeds is already 40 per cent let ahead of its opening next autumn as stores flock to grab a space next to one of the biggest John Lewis stores outside London.

The scheme is being billed as the latest piece in the jigsaw of the complete regeneration of Leeds city centre.

Property developer Hammerson said the 34,300 square metre scheme, which is adjacent to Victoria Quarter, will consist of a flagship John Lewis store, a two-street arcade with more than 30 aspirational retailers and restaurants and an 800-space multi-storey car park.

Hammerson said leasing progress is encouraging, with 40 per cent of the retail income let or in solicitors’ hands.

Construction work for the first phase started last April following the purchase of Victoria Quarter in 2012.

Following hot on the heels of the success of the £350m Trinity Leeds shopping centre, the scheme is expected to create up to 1,000 construction and 1,000 retail and hospitality jobs.

The new anchor John Lewis will be one of the partnership’s largest store outside of London at 255,000 to 260,000 sq ft.

Hammerson said Victoria Gate will be very different to Trinity Leeds, which appeals to a young fashion and mass market audience.

In contrast, Hammerson’s scheme will be pitched at a higher demographic and is aiming for a similar experience to South Molton Street in London, the upmarket pedestrianised street south of Bond Street in the heart of London’s West End.

Hammerson said that John Lewis will bring in shoppers who don’t currently shop in Leeds in what is widely known in retail terms as “the John Lewis effect” as the store is so popular with shoppers.

Hammerson has already signed up some upmarket retailers for the arcade, but the names will not be announced for another few weeks. The group is also asking existing retailers in the Victoria Quarter, which include Ted Baker, Vivienne Westwood, Karen Millen, French Connection, Diesel, Space NK, Hobbs, All Saints, Jigsaw and the first Harvey Nichols store outside London, if they would like to move to bigger premises at Victoria Gate.

Victoria Quarter is ornate, but very small, and Hammerson believes retailers may well grasp the opportunity to up-size to a larger store in Victoria Gate.

The new Victoria Gate retail space will be positioned between Harvey Nichols and John Lewis.

ACME designed the architectural plans for the scheme that pay homage to the Grade II listed, Frank Matcham-designed, Victoria Quarter while also creating a modern building.

The scheme is being billed as a 21st century-inspired retail arcade.

Plans for the eight-storey white Terracotta building include a roof inspired by the Corn Exchange, but with the contemporary reference of the new, highly acclaimed Kings Cross station in London.

Announcing annual results yesterday, Hammerson said the UK economic recovery had helped it to more than double profits.

The group’s pre-tax profits jumped 106 per cent to £703.1m in the year to December 31.

It posted a 2.1 per cent rise in net rental income following strong demand from retailers who want prime space in its properties.

The business has benefited from the 2013 strategy of chief executive David Atkins to withdraw from its London office buildings and focus on retail outlets in order to take advantage of the UK’s consumer led recovery.

The FTSE 100 firm said its property portfolio gained from a revaluation gain of £547m, equivalent to a total return of 13.6 per cent.

Mr Atkins said: “We have delivered strong results on the back of a significant uplift in asset valuation and continuing income growth.

“The recovery in UK consumer sentiment has continued to strengthen, driving increased demand from retailers for prime space, which is now translating into estimated rental value growth across the whole portfolio.”

The company said it has raised £1bn of new cash to fund expansion.

Its biggest UK tenants last year were B&Q, Next and Dixons Carphone.

Written by Ros Snowdon City Editor, for The Yorkshire Post