Leeds City Centre Apartment Prices Hit The High Note

Research by Morgans shows that Leeds city centre’s apartment values have recovered to the pre-crisis peak they hit in 2008.  However, the gap between prices in core areas, compared to those in fringe schemes, is now wider than ever.

Values per square foot can now differ by as much as 50 per cent when comparing apartments in premium developments in very central locations with properties located less than a mile away on the outskirts of the city centre.

Buyers will pay a significant premium for a high quality, well-designed apartment in a very central location and this applies to both new-build and resale properties.  Values of these types of apartments have generally held up much better than lower quality apartments following the downturn.

We are selling high quality properties, in core locations, for the same prices that we achieved at the peak of the market in 2008, with interest coming from both investors and owner-occupiers.

There is also a lot of potential for further price growth because Leeds is still behind the likes of Harrogate and York in terms of residential values, which is distorted when you consider and compare the economic profiles of the three.

A major lack of development in recent years has resulted in a shortage of supply, but there is now a raft of new developments on the horizon, which is also welcome news.  Forward thinking developers recognise the importance of quality so there’s some real thought going into the latest generation of schemes which is good for both the market and Leeds as a whole.

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Saxton Hasn’t Let The Grass Grow Under Its Feet

It’s hard to believe almost four years have passed since work completed at Saxton.  Today the development still stands out from the crowd and both homebuyers and investors once again have the opportunity to buy an apartment that is unlike anything else in Leeds city centre.

The development, by renowned regeneration company Urban Splash, sits within an established community in a leafy area in the East Bank area of Leeds and is just a short walk from The Calls, Leeds Dock and the city centre.

Saxton consists of two buildings that were completely refurbished to create 410 apartments surrounded by six acres of land complete with a one-acre private park, sun terrace, residents’ gym with classes, on-site caretaker and advanced recycling provision.  There’s also lift access to all floors, a video entry system, intruder alarms, energy efficient heating system and there are even allotments and sheds available by separate negotiation.

The whole development is finished to an exceptional standard and every apartment offers extremely generous living space and floor to ceiling windows providing lots of natural light and far-reaching views.

Morgans has been closely involved with Saxton from the outset, successfully managing and letting apartments within the development from day one.  We have now just been appointed to sell a portfolio of apartments in the scheme that offer both owner-occupiers and investors a fantastic opportunity.

The properties we are marketing start at £105,000 for a one-bedroom apartment through to £140,000 for a two-bedroom home with parking.  For investors there are several years worth of rental history available and some apartments are available with both the tenant and furnishings in place.

When you consider the size of the living spaces and the overall quality of the development, these apartments offer some of the most attractively priced apartments available anywhere in the City.

Further details are available by calling 0113 3980098 or emailing sales@cityliving.co.uk

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Crypt Factor Is Biggest Yet

 

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This year’s Crypt Factor, which is an annual singing competition that brings together leading companies from the region’s property industry to raise money for two great charities, was the biggest ever!

This year’s event broke every record in its nine year history and saw 10 budding singers and groups swap their day jobs in property for a night on the stage, and perform in front of a huge audience of approximately 700 people at Elland Road.

In total, the event raised more than £64,000 for two charities- LionHeart and St George’s Crypt and it’s a great delight that Morgans is a headline sponsor and organiser alongside Bond Dickinson, Bruntwood and Town Centre Securities Plc.

LionHeart offers all types of help and support to the property industry’s RICS members and their families who face problems in their lives that are often completely unexpected.

St George’s Crypt is a fantastic local charity based within the thriving church of St George’s in Leeds and has been at the frontline of support for homeless, disadvantaged and vulnerable people in Leeds and its surrounding areas since 1930.

The charity has previously spent the money we raise on all types of initiatives including its hugely successful ‘Growing Rooms’ programme, which houses and supports people as they break alcohol and drug related addictions.  The money has also gone towards helping people to improve their self-confidence, make positive decisions and ultimately move back into society and gain employment.

St George’s Crypt costs £1.5-million to run each year and relies heavily on donations to operate and offer vital services that benefit about 200 people every day.  You can find out more about the great work of this longstanding local charity by visiting www.stgeorgescrypt.org.uk

Property Industry Will Raise The Roof At Crypt Factor 2015

 

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March is always a great month for the region’s property industry because, as spring approaches, it’s not just the birds in the trees that are singing!

Every year, around this time, all the leading companies from the region’s property industry come together to raise tens of thousands of pounds for two very deserving charities, at the annual singing competition known as The Crypt Factor.

Now in its ninth year, the event takes place on 19th March 2015 and will see 10 budding singers and groups swap their day jobs in property for a night on the stage, as they perform in front of an audience of approximately 700 people – which is no mean feat!

This year’s event is already on target to raise well over £50,000 for charities LionHeart and St George’s Crypt and it’s a huge honour that Morgans is a headline sponsor and organiser alongside Bond Dickinson, Bruntwood and Town Centre Securities Plc.

The level of support we receive grows every year and this time we have been inundated with singers from a wide range of leading companies in the property industry and tables are selling extremely well, which will make Crypt Factor 2015 a superb event.

The charities we support both do fantastic jobs under difficult circumstances.  LionHeart offers all types of help and support to RICS members and their families who face problems in their lives that are often completely unexpected.  St George’s Crypt is a charity based within the thriving church of St George’s in Leeds and has been at the frontline of support for homeless, disadvantaged and vulnerable people in Leeds and its surrounding areas since 1930.

You can find out more about The Crypt Factor and offer your support by following us on Twitter @CryptFactor.

Special Penthouse Pushes The Right Buttons

 

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Anyone looking for a truly spectacular home in the city centre should look no further than a stunning new penthouse that has hit the market following a complete refurbishment and re-design bya prominent London-based interiors specialist.

The penthouse at Simpsons Fold on Dock Street, covers 2,200 square feet over two floors and includesa dual aspect living room, four spacious bedrooms, two terraces, three bathrooms and two parking spaces.  It’s on the market for £795,000.

The interior has been designed by well-known interior design specialist Helen Hughes and standout features include a completely bespoke contemporary dark oak and quartz stone kitchen with integrated appliances that are cleverly hidden away by full-height doors, a feature staircase, high quality bathrooms anda mix of dark hard wood and solid bamboo flooring.

Simpsons Fold is a sympathetically converted, Grade II listed former mill, consisting of 47 apartments and five commercial units on the ground floor. It’s a really popular development, close to the river with fantastic views and plenty of amenities on its doorstep. The living space in the penthouse is unrivalled – there is nothing else on the market of this size or standard at the moment.  It provides the very best of city living, with a superb design style that would suit anyone looking for a truly unique space, of exceptional quality, in the heart of Leeds.

It offers plenty of character features and full length floor to ceiling windows that light both floors and two paved terrace areas that provide first rate views.  There’s also a concierge on-site and secure underground parking for two cars. It takes less than 10 minutes to walk to the train station and we are expecting plenty of interest from buyers searching for a very special city home.

A Big Year For The Property Market

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As we head into the New Year, all the signs suggest that 2015 will be another great year for both Leeds and its property market.

There’s no doubt that as Leeds continues to enjoy a fast improving city centre living environment and a truly dynamic economy, the city apartment market will continue to flourish and the steady capital growth that apartment values enjoyed in 2014 will continue in 2015.

However, the rentals market will still dominate market activity.  We manage the city’s largest residential rental portfolio and continue to experience soaring numbers of potential tenants and a shortage of high quality apartments across the city centre with occupancy rates at more than 99%.  Apartments that are available are generally not on the market for long and anyone looking to rent has to move quickly to secure a property when they find one they like.

Unfortunately, the supply problem isn’t going to get fixed in 2015 – or even in 2016.  Leeds is the only major city in the UK without a significant city centre residential scheme currently on site and yet it has such a strong economy.

We also expect the sales market to continue improving in 2015.  Investor activity will increase as rents outstrip capital growth and last year we saw growing numbers of owner-occupiers and first time buyers snapping up apartments as the availability of mortgage finance improves.  The British have always been a nation of homeowners and although the rentals market is fierce, the majority of people who are renting aspire to buy their own home.

There is likely to be some disruption to the market around election time which will provide the usual distraction and will inevitably lead to some reticence around decision making.  The spectre of an interest rate rise will undoubtedly provide an excuse for the waverers, but then again, so will the snow – we do not expect a rate rise until late in the year. The snow will come first!

Students Learn To Love Living In The City

75 Otley RoadLeeds has always been a popular student city, with approximately 65,000 university students at its universities, and for the last 20 years or so, many have made Headingley their home.

Indeed when you ask anyone in Leeds about Headingley, 99% of them will say ‘cricket and students because students have been at the heart of life in Headingley for such a long time. Things are changing!

Increasingly, students now want to live as close as possible to the city centre.  And, if they can’t afford or don’t want to live right in the city centre, many are opting to live closer to the campus, in Hyde Park or Woodhouse, which means these suburbs are very much on the up.

There are differing opinions as to what has caused this sea-change and academics struggle to understand the precise factors at play.  It seems the growth of campus living is a major factor which serves not only to provide homes for thousands of first years – and increasingly returning students too – but also creates a much more vibrant lifestyle hub, which students want to be close to.  Just as the tidal wave of student demand has pushed all the way out to West Park over the last 20 years, it is now receding at a similar pace.

Developers are creating homes that specifically appeal to the next generation of students and a number of purpose built developments have established enclaves, particularly around Burley Road, the University Campus and Woodhouse and this clustering draws students further towards the city.

The numbers of young professionals and families choosing to rent in Headingley has in turn increased significantly with the majority of clients at our North Leeds office now consisting of couples and professionals who are renting homes for between £500 and £850 per month.

There will always be a core of students who want to live in Headingley and that’s great. It is a vibrant and friendly place where families, young professionals and students can live happily side by side, as they do in many other areas.

First Time Buyers Make Themselves At Home In Leeds

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Leeds is proving to be a hotspot for first time buyers and we’ve seen a surge of buyers taking their first step onto the property ladder since the start of the year as the availability of mortgage finance continues to improve.

This is supported by recent data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) which reveals that first time buyers now account for approximately 45% of all new mortgages and have an average age of 29.  In addition, figures from the CML reveal that the average loan to value ratio for first-time buyers has risen to 83%, which is the highest it has been since November 2008.

These figures show how the property market has suddenly become accessible again for first time buyers.  Although there are lots of horror stories about completely unrealistic deposit requirements and people having to save until their 30s, or even their 40s, before they can buy a home, these figures often come from London-centric sources.

The outlook outside of London is actually much brighter than many people think, and this is definitely the case in Leeds city centre where we have seen a good increase of first time buye
rs securing mortgages and buying apartments since the start of the year.

This trend looks set to continue as we head into autumn and across the board we’re now selling twice the number of apartments than we did during the same period last year and the market has found a level of stability that hasn’t existed for several years.

The British have always been a nation of homeowners and although the rentals market remains fierce at the moment, the majority of people who are renting aspire to buy their own home and for many this opportunity could now come sooner than they think.

Butterflies And Bees Set Up Home In Headingley

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We expanded into new premises in Headingley almost three years ago after completely refurbishing and extending a derelict detached house to create a 1,200 square foot, state of the art office, with modern cedar and glass extensions on both sides, an open plan layout, an open roof truss structure and a cut back first floor.

At the time we joined forces with the ‘Headingley in Bloom’ group to extend flower beds, outside the office on Otley Road opposite the Arndale Centre, and create a wild flower meadow garden complete with lavender hedges.  Headingley in Bloom do a superb job in creating stunning flower displays throughout Headingley so they were the obvious people to work with on this project.

Creating a wild meadow style garden right in the heart of Headingley originally seemed ambitious, but its rural feel provides an exciting contrast to its urban location, which makes it a great talking point in Headingley.  The location now offers varying wildlife habitat and flora, and is a large enough area to support a variety of species.

Now I’m no expert but those in the know tell me species already seen in the garden include Skipper, Brimstone, Tortoise Shell and Green-veined White butterflies, as well as Honey, Carder, White-tailed and Cuckoo bees.

Many of these species are often only found in the countryside and it’s thought to be at least 50 years since a lot of these pollinators had anywhere to live along the main road in this part of Headingley, so next time you’re passing our North Leeds office be sure to have a look!