10 Reasons to Consider Property Investment in Leeds and Where to Buy
A thriving cosmopolitan city, strong economic growth and an increasing population make property investment in Leeds a compelling proposition.
Already a city of choice for businesses, students and young professionals, current and future investment projects are set to further transform this ambitious city and increase its economic potential and livability.
A great place to live, work and play with affordable housing and strong rental yields, there’s never been a better time to invest in property in Leeds. Read on to find out why this Yorkshire city should be on your property investment radar.
1. A Solid Economy and Strong Population Growth
Over the last decade, large-scale regeneration work has transformed Leeds. Investment projects have acted as a catalyst for economic growth, helping the city gain ground amongst property investors.
Leeds City Region (an area including the whole of West Yorkshire and parts of South and North Yorkshire) is now the UK’s second-biggest economy after London. With a GVA – the value of goods and services provided in the area – amounting to over £69 billion, its economy is larger than nine European countries and makes up 5% of England’s total economic output.
2. The Undisputed Leader Within the Northern Powerhouse
Leeds is the key contributor to UK GDP out of the Northern Powerhouse cities. The Northern Powerhouse Initiative is the UK Government’s strategy to improve economic prospects in Northern cities and also includes Liverpool, Newcastle, Hull, Sheffield and Manchester.
With an ambition for the North of England to be a dynamic counterweight to London and the South-East economy, Leeds is set to thrive in the decades ahead as further regeneration work and investment projects get underway, attracting more businesses to the area.
Leeds’ population growth also signals strong property investment potential. In the last 10 years Leeds’ population has increased 151%, seven times that of London. The city has a population of 7 million within an hour’s drive, and more under 24-year olds than any other area outside the South-East. This means high rental opportunities for investors looking to own buy-to-let property.
3. Leeds Means Business
Leeds’ status as one of the UK’s biggest business cities also makes it one of the most attractive for property investment. Leeds has a stable employment base thanks to a regional economy powered by some 126,000 companies and a 1.37-million-person workforce. Employment is forecast to increase by 6.5% over the next 10 years, faster than most other UK key cities.
Combining all the assets needed for competitive advantage and growth, a number of big-name businesses have their headquarters in Leeds, including Asda, Jet2, Tetley’s Brewery, The Yorkshire Bank, The Leeds Studios, operated by Yorkshire Television, and Sky Betting & Gaming, as well as NHS Digital and NHS England.
A professional services hotspot, Leeds is a global leader in high-value sectors such as technology, healthcare and manufacturing. It also holds the title as the UK’s second-largest financial services sector and was coined The Financial Centre for Excellence by UK Trade & Investment. Leeds is also making a name for itself as one of the UK’s top creative cities with a growing media industry – the recently-opened Leeds Studios in Holbeck is a world-class production facility putting Leeds at the forefront of the UK’s film and TV economy.
4. A Tech and Start-Up Hub
With a thriving tech sector worth £1 billion, Leeds is hailed “Digital Capital of the North”. The region’s digital and creative strengths in addition to affordable living make it a compelling alternative to London for entrepreneurs looking to start up and scale their businesses.
Leeds currently holds the crown for the highest concentration of scale ups outside London and is home to the fastest scale up growth in the North – attracting 82% more venture capital and hosting 12% more scale ups than its northern rival, Manchester.
A place where new and ambitious companies can thrive, a supportive ecosystem of coworking spaces, innovation hubs and incubators are springing up to help the city’s start up and scale up scene go from strength to strength.
Leeds’ burgeoning tech and creative industry, leading businesses and high-growth industries create a strong job market driving an influx of young professionals seeking well-located rental housing. For investors seeking property for sale in Leeds, there are plenty of opportunities to buy apartments and houses with high rental income potential.
5. Leeds is Home to One of the UK’s Most Exciting Rental Markets
With a growing population and strong economy, does Leeds offer a good rate of return on property investments? Leeds is currently a standout market for rental growth and presents property investors with plenty of options at an affordable price.
The city is struggling to meet demands for housing generated by the influx of young professionals, a growing student population and young families relocating to the area. According to projections, 90,000 new homes are needed by 2021 with only 60,000 currently in the pipeline
The city’s housing shortfall is having a knock-on effect when it comes to property prices and rents. The average house price in Leeds currently stands at around £178,735. JLL anticipates that house prices will grow 19.9% and rents will grow 18.8% by 2022, placing the city second only to Manchester in terms of house price growth expectations.
6. A Thriving Buy-to-Let Market
Low property prices combined with increasing rental costs means Leeds currently offers some of the highest rental yields in the country. Buy-to-let property investors enjoy higher average yields of 4.29 % compared to 3.05 % in London.
Those investing in houses or apartments in Leeds can expect to see robust property growth, and acquiring a buy-to-let property can be a lucrative investment.
7. Investment Projects Bringing Growth and Value to Leeds
According to the Ernst & Young annual Attractiveness Survey, the Leeds City Region is one of the UK’s leading foreign and direct investment locations. The regeneration of Leeds in recent years has seen a number of investment projects get underway with many more in the pipeline.
The Leeds Southbank project will double the size of Leeds City Centre, creating a global destination for investment, living, learning and leisure. As one of the largest city-centre regeneration initiatives in Europe, the project will transform an area equivalent to 350 football pitches and generate over 35,000 jobs and 8,000 homes.
Leeds Southbank is also the location of the £100 billion HS2 high-speed rail link between Leeds, Birmingham and London. The project will cut the Leeds to London journey time to just 82 minutes, and improve regional and city connections.
Not only is HS2 an engine of economic growth worth over £25 billion in opportunities for businesses in construction, training and infrastructure support services, over £500 million of investment has been attracted to Leeds since the project was announced. HS2 is forecast to deliver 19,700 new jobs and create a single economic corridor that will boost the Leeds City Region economy by £7.8 billion a year.
Other large-scale investment projects in Leeds include two hospitals set to transform healthcare in the city over the next decade, and a state-of-the-art £150 million terminal building at Leeds Bradford Airport that will increase passenger numbers from 4 to 7 million. The landmark SOYO project is a £300 million mixed-use development that coincides with the recent developments of Leeds Playhouse and the new Leeds City College campus.
Regeneration projects signal future growth, act as a catalyst for the city’s economy and hint to property appreciation in coming years. With many landmark projects set to get underway, now is the time to invest in property in Leeds.
8. Leeds is a Top Student City with Strong Rental Opportunities
The Leeds City Region hosts the largest cluster of higher education institutions outside London and each year its nine universities produce 38,900 graduates. The University of Leeds alone welcomes over 9,000 international students from more than 170 countries worldwide, and the number of students in the city continues to grow each year.
The popularity of Leeds as a student city is good news for buy-to-let property investors. With a high proportion of students looking for places to rent during their studies, investing in student accommodation is a worthwhile avenue.
With great employment opportunities thanks to the area’s growing economy, many graduate students choose to stay on in Leeds after university. This thriving young professional scene increases rental demand and makes purchasing buy-to-let properties in Leeds a lucrative option.
9. Leeds is an Attractive Lifestyle Destination
Another factor making Leeds one of the best UK cities for property investment is its attractive lifestyle offering. As well as one of the UK’s most economically strong cities, Leeds has something for everyone and has its sights set on becoming the Best City in the UK by 2030.
Those investing in property in Leeds are greeted with top-class museums, a thriving music scene, plenty of retail options, vibrant nightlife and a strong gastronomic offering thanks to diverse bars and restaurants.
The city itself is the gateway to the wider Yorkshire region, meaning the countryside is never far away. There are plenty of historical sites to discover from Fountains Abbey to the Yorkshire Dales – one of the highest-rated national parks in the world.
10. Centrally Located and Well Connected
Leeds’ central location means residents are never far from other UK cities. A high-speed train service puts London only 2 hours away, a travel time soon to get even shorter thanks to the HS2 high-speed rail project. Leeds-Bradford airport flies to Heathrow five times a day – with flights taking under an hour – and beyond to key European cities. Excellent road connections such as the M62 and M1 mean easy access to the east and west coasts of Northern England and London, respectively.
Looking ahead, the city’s Local Growth Dea with the UK Government will help fund transport projects designed to improve the connectivity across the region and make even easier connections across the UK.
With strong cultural offerings, an excellent standard of living and affordability, and well-connected by air, road and rail, Leeds has a strong live and work appeal. High demand for quality homes and apartments presents plenty of opportunities for property investment in Leeds.
Which Areas in Leeds are Best for Property Investment?
Whether you’re looking for a buy-to-let property in Leeds or a home for yourself, there are a number of factors to take into consideration such as local amenities, transport links, price growth, and rental value and yields.
Here are some areas in Leeds to consider for your property investment:
Leeds City Centre
A prime location, buying a property in Leeds City Centre puts you in the heart of the action. Having undergone significant regeneration over the years, the centre boasts all the amenities, transport links and convenience you’d expect from a top European city.
The city centre is popular with young professionals and students, making it one of the best areas to invest in a buy-to-let property.
The majority of property sales in Leeds City Centre during the last year were flats, selling for an average price of £174,294. Investors can expect steady yields of 5% on average.
An up-and-coming area on the northern fringe of the city, Meanwood is a bustling suburb that still retains a local village feel.
A great option for property investors in Leeds, Meanwood has undergone gentrification and modernisation, and boasts great transport links into the city with easy access to the outer ring road. Local amenities include plenty of green space, eateries, shops and bars as well as schools, making it a great option for families.
The majority of sales in Meanwood during the last year were semi-detached properties, selling for an average price of £248,502
Neighbouring Meanwood, Headingley is just two miles from Leeds City Centre and has long been a popular area for student accommodation.
Hosting a plethora of restaurants, bars and shops, this self-contained suburb is also a popular rental area for young professionals looking for city-centre amenities a little further back from the hustle and bustle.
One of the best-served areas in Leeds by public transport, getting to the city and back is easy by road or rail.
The majority of sales in Headingley during the last year were semi-detached properties, selling for an average price of £299,533. Flats sold for an average of £160,509.
Woodhouse, Burley and Hyde Park
Sandwiched between the city centre and Headingley, the neighbouring areas of Woodhouse, Burley and Hyde Park are becoming hugely popular with students thanks to their central location.
All these areas are close to Leeds’ main universities with good transport links and plenty of eateries and amenities like supermarkets, making them ideal locations for a student investment property.
The main campus of Leeds University is less than a mile from Burley and Hyde Park is a stone’s throw from Leeds Met as well as the University of Leeds. Woodhouse is home to a large park, and a restaurant and pub scene that makes it attractive for graduates staying on in the city.
Over the past year, the average house prices in these areas were as follows:
Hyde Park £158,702
Armley, Hunslet and Beeston
Located south of the city centre, Armley, Hunslet and Beeston have some of the lowest property prices in Leeds.
Proximity to Leeds City Centre and new residential developments are making these areas ones to watch from a property investment perspective, and each boasts strong transport links. Improvement plans, such as the redevelopment of Armley’s high street, mean buying property in these areas could be a great investment for the future.
Over the past year, the average house prices in these areas were as follows:
Roundhay, Moortown, Alwoodley, Adel and Horsforth
These suburbs in the north of Leeds are popular with families. Easy access to the city centre and plenty of good schools put these affluent residential areas as the city’s most expensive in terms of property prices.
Roundhay is known for its park, which hosts popular local events. Alwoodley is home to the Eccup Reservoir and two golf courses, and, alongside Moortown, is home to some of the most appealing properties in Leeds thanks to their stunning architecture.
Adel is popular with families and young professionals, thanks to great pubs and parks and schools. Horsforth is one of the most popular locations in Leeds due to convenient commuter networks to the city centre, York and beyond.
Over the past year, the average house prices in these areas were as follows:
Leeds is a city with strong economic potential, exciting future investment and regeneration projects and a strong rental market supported by a growing student population and influx of young professionals. There’s no denying now is a great time to invest in a property in Leeds. Get in touch and we’ll help you find the ideal property and location.