Apartments Are Breaking The Mould

Every now and again I hear some people say that once you’ve seen one city apartment, you’ve seen them all, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Although there are many apartments that were built in the days when it made good business sense to ‘pile em high and sell em cheap’ there are also lots of architectural gems across the city centre and many of the schemes built in the last five years have focussed on delivering a top quality product.

Schemes such as Saxton by Urban Splash and Crispin Lofts by Rushbond, where every one of the 82 apartments is different, are both testament to this.

There are also a wide range of second hand apartments available that are full of unique features and many have been individually designed or even completely refurbished since they were originally built.

One such apartment is a two bedroomed, split level penthouse on the fourth floor of Centaur House on Great George Street.  It’s quite rare to find a home in the city that offers such an unusual and impressive living space.

The apartment in the Grade 2 listed building has high ceilings, exposed beams and original windows, and a huge living area, a 30 foot wide south facing balcony and a refurbished kitchen with island and breakfast bar- this is a really stunning apartment.

Another unique property is a two bedroom apartment in a beautiful Grade 2 listed building in the quiet and leafy area of Park Square, which is close to The Headrow and priced at £369,950.  The apartment is full of character with original sash windows, high ceilings with cornicing, feature fireplaces and a separate kitchen.

This property definitely stands out from the crowd and as city apartment sales grow and the market recovers, there’s no doubt that demand for individual homes is increasing- this makes for an exciting future and we are confident that the next generation of city living will be much more focused on creating really interesting living spaces in high quality environments.

No Time To Waste In Property Search

The property market is a fierce place to be right now and any potential tenants currently looking for rental property will know that high quality homes in good locations are thin on the ground – and this is especially true in Leeds city centre.

We manage the city centre’s largest apartment portfolio and we’re currently experiencing our highest ever occupancy figures which stand at over 99%.  To put it in perspective, when we opened our doors back in 1997 there were only around 500 or so hardy souls living in the city.

Fast forward a few years and today there are approximately 11,000 apartments in Leeds city centre which are home to around 14,000 residents and we estimate that only about 100 of these homes are currently sitting empty.

This chronic shortage of rental stock means it’s not unusual to have as many as three or four people trying to rent every property we bring to the market and homes that are finished to a high standard, in a good location and realistically priced will often let in less than a day.

However, there are lots of things potential tenants can do to increase their chances of securing their ideal home.  First of all it’s important to demonstrate that you will be a reliable tenant and be ready to commit as soon as you see the property you want.

This means getting your finances sorted beforehand.  Most letting agents will run a credit search so check your credit report to ensure it’s up to date.  Others might ask for references, perhaps from a previous landlord or employer, so think about who you could ask to provide these and maybe even have copies ready to give to the letting agent.

If these are proving problematic don’t lose hope because it may be possible to use a guarantor, such as a parent, who will join into the agreement and offer to pay the rent in the event that you fail to do so.  Obviously arranging this can take time so it’s something you need to think about in advance.

Finally, most good letting agents will keep databases of people who are looking for property in certain areas so whenever you enquire about a property it’s worth asking to be added onto their list so that when anything similar is available you’ll hear about it straight away.

What’s In Store For The Property Market In 2014?

IT’S always important to start a New Year in a positive frame of mind and all the signs suggest that 2014 could be a good year for the property market.

There’s no doubt this recession has been a long one but history has taught us that recovery always comes and for the first time in many years, virtually all of the ‘experts’ are predicting both house price growth and an improving mortgage market this year.  When this is combined with significant capital investment in Leeds, which is set to continue, we’re feeling very positive about 2014.

Developers are feeling it too and we’re already seeing a lot more activity amongst the key players in Leeds who have been waiting for the right time before exploring the potential of their city centre assets.  In fact, my phone has rung more in the last three months than it has in the last six years!

As a result we expect to see at least one new scheme start on site this year which looks like being a high quality development on the river consisting of around 70 apartments.  Further plans will also be unveiled for several new city living schemes throughout 2014 and most of these will probably be aimed at the rentals market.

However, despite the rentals market being extremely buoyant at the moment, I don’t subscribe to the hysterical claims which have been made about exponential and permanent growth in the role of the rental sector.

I read an article recently which suggested that the Government wanted to grow the private rented sector to over 30% of housing provision, but I just don’t see this happening.  The UK remains a nation of home-makers, and as soon as people feel confident enough to buy, and they are able to access a reasonable mortgage deal, they will step onto the property ladder.

We are already experiencing significantly improved sales activity in Leeds city centre and sold twice the number of apartments in 2013 compared to the previous year.  For those people reading this who already own city centre apartments there’s also good news in that we expect to see some price growth creeping into the city centre although this may not become apparent until late 2014.

 

All In A Days Work For Morgans

Demand for rental property is so high that it’s not unusual for homes to let in less than a day.  Our North Leeds office, which is based on Otley Road in Headingley, has recently let several properties within 24 hours of them hitting the market.  One such property is a modern two bedroom apartment located on Montgomery Avenue in Headingley which the company successfully let in a matter of hours.

A chronic shortage of rental stock means it’s not unusual to have as many as three or four potential tenants trying to rent every property we bring to the market.  Morgans manages Leeds city centre’s largest portfolio of apartments and we’re currently experiencing our highest ever occupancy figures which stand at over 99% and it’s a similarly high figure at our North Leeds office.

As a result quality properties like the apartment on Montgomery Avenue, that are finished to a high standard, in a good location and realistically priced are letting in no time at all.  We have a database of potential tenants who are waiting for the right property to come available so we’re regularly able to let properties almost immediately.

This level of demand is also encouraging growing numbers of investors to return to the buy to let market and in the last six months alone we have won a significant number of instructions from new landlords.  There really has never been a better time to be a landlord and we would urge anyone that currently has property standing empty to contact us.

Rental Market Would Be Damaged If Government Steps In

The rentals market would be irreconcilably damaged if plans to introduce longer tenancies and rent rises linked to inflation were introduced, according to a new report.

The report by Professor Michael Ball suggests the private rented sector would be fatally undermined if the measures proposed by Shelter were introduced. Ball is a Professor of Urban and Property Economics at Reading University and his report mirrors what the industry has been saying since Shelter started lobbying the Government for changes to the rentals market.

Professor Ball says in his report that under the Shelter model, five-year contracts would be the norm and that the charity also wants all tenants to have the opportunity to leave the property at any point during that tenancy giving two months’ notice but, landlords would not be granted the same power to regain possession of the property from the tenant. Ball states that landlords would face higher risks and lower returns while the beneficiaries amongst tenants would be few and the losers many.

In our experience, some tenants want to stay in the same rental property for longer periods of time and these people can ask for a long-term tenancy agreement which would give them discounts on prevailing market rents. Landlords like to have these sorts of tenants as they provide a guaranteed rental yield but there is absolutely no need to make it mandatory for all, there must be a level of flexibility in the market, not everyone wants to rent for longer.

The report also condemns the idea of linking rents to inflation. No one wants rents linked to inflation, it makes no sense. The report uses official ONS data to show that in each of the last eight years, private rented sector rents have risen by less than inflation so linking rents to inflation would therefore leave tenants worse off.

The Government is currently working on introducing ‘family friendly’ tenancies and the Residential Landlord Association has also proposed its own model agreement where tenants would have a right to renew their existing tenancies based on the current shorthold tenancy agreement. Where a disagreement ensued about renewal, the landlord or tenant could take the matter to arbitration. Unlike proposals for a five-year tenancy agreement, this model would require no new legislation.

There is no need for the Government to intervene and enforce long-term contracts on the market. There is already an existing system that caters for those tenants that want to rent for longer and as Ball states, there is no failure in the formal, fair and mutually binding long-term contracts already available. The Government must take a step back and refrain from putting a stranglehold on the rentals market which provides accessible homes for people who either do not want to or cannot afford to buy.

Park Square Apartment Generates Lots Of Interest

A recent instruction that has generated plenty of interest is a centrally located stunning two bedroom top floor apartment on Park Square, with its own roof terrace, characterful exposed beams and light filled layout. 42F Park Square is on the market for £249,950.

Leeds Listed In Top Five Places To Live

It’s great to see Leeds city centre sitting in fifth place in a new league table showing the best places in the country to work, rest and play. 

Although those of us who live and work here already know what a great a place Leeds is, it’s fantastic that it’s now been made official in Experian’s ‘vibrancy list’.  Experian analysed 75 urban areas and looked at lots of factors including housing types, economic activity and the professional status of residents to determine where the UK’s young, affluent and vibrant populations are living.

The report highlighted the level of demand for leisure and entertainment in Leeds as well as the city’s low unemployment rate and high number of purpose-built apartments within the urban area of Leeds, which covers a 1km radius from the city centre.

However if Leeds is to maintain or even improve on its position in this table, we will need to significantly increase the number of apartments available in the city.  Morgans manages Leeds city centre’s largest portfolio of apartments and we’re currently experiencing our highest ever occupancy figures which stand at over 99%.

Leeds gained an unfair reputation as the ‘empty flats capital’ of the North in 2008 but as we predicted, as supply has dried up and demand has continued to grow, occupancy levels have risen and we are now urgently in need of the next generation of new schemes.

Currently there are only one or two new schemes in the pipeline for Leeds city centre over the next two years. What we need is more development in core locations that offers tenants something unique.

Rushbond’s recent success at Crispin Lofts in the city’s Northern Quarter is a prime example of the sort of scheme the city needs. They took a striking building, which had been derelict for over 10 years and we let all 80 apartments within a matter of months and we urgently need more build to rent schemes like this to meet tenant demand.

Leeds has really hit the headlines in 2013 for all the right reasons with the opening of the Leeds Arena and Trinity Quarter and it’s important that the residential property market keeps pace.

We don’t want to be in a position where a lack of available rental property becomes more than just a short term frustration.  Plus there’s a lot of competition, especially when you look at the top of the table and see another Northern city – it’s a place over the pennies that begins with an ‘M’!

Largest Leeds City Centre Penthouse Hits The Market

This spectacular split level penthouse apartment is situated within a Grade II listed former wool mill in the heart of the city. The apartment was originally planned as two apartments however they were knocked together and the property is now believed to be the largest penthouse in Leeds.

 

The apartment includes three impressive en-suite bedroom suites all with built in wardrobes and accessed from a mezzanine landing. The apartment also comes with a study, a large well equipped breakfast kitchen with plenty of storage and two secure allocated parking spaces. Double doors lead into an open plan living/dining area with original windows, a feature fireplace, sunken sitting area and high ceilings throughout.

 

19 Wellington Street is located in the West End of Leeds with all the shops, bars, restaurants on its doorstep, it’s also just a two minute walk from the train station. The apartment is on the market for £699,000 and includes two car parking spaces.

New Homes Needed In Leeds

Confidence in the City Centre residential property market has boosted rental occupancy levels to an all-time high of more than 99%.

Leeds gained an unfair reputation as the ‘empty flats capital’ of the North in 2008, but as we predicted, as supply has dried up and demand has continued to grow, occupancy levels have risen and we are now urgently in need of the next generation of new schemes.

Currently there are only one or two new schemes in the pipeline for Leeds city centre over the next two years. What the city needs is more development in core locations that offer tenants something unique. With the average tenant now renting for much longer periods, developers need to concentrate on creating appealing homes in some of the city’s better buildings and locations.

Rushbond’s recent success at Crispin Lofts in the city’s Northern Quarter is a prime example of the sort of scheme the city needs. They took a striking building, which had been derelict for over 10 years and we let all 80 apartments within a matter of months and we urgently need more build to rent schemes like this if we are to meet tenant demand.

The recent large scale investment in the city’s leisure and retail facilities will encourage more residential construction in the heart of the city. Leeds has really hit the headlines in 2013 for all the right reasons with the opening of the Leeds Arena and Trinity Quarter and it’s important that the residential property market keeps pace.

We don’t want to be in a position where a lack of available rental property becomes more than just a short term frustration. The detractors who labelled Leeds the empty flats capital of the North have been well and truly put in their place and we look forward with a great deal of confidence in what is now one of the most vibrant places to live North of London.

Morgans Raises A Glass To Beer Festival

Tickets are now on sale for the second Headingley Beer Festival, known as Oktoberfest, which will run from 11th to 13th October and Morgans has joined forces with the event as its main sponsor.

The German themed festival will be held in the grounds of New Headingley Club and will feature beer, bands, food and family entertainment throughout the entire weekend.  Beers and ciders will be on sale from a wide range of local breweries including Ridgeside, Kirkstall, Wharfebank, Osset, Goode Eye, Old Bear, Roosters, Salamander and Saltaire and there will also be a selection of carefully selected German and world beers available.  A number of local bands and singers will be performing throughout the weekend.

Last year was the first Headingley Beer Festival and it was a huge success attracting thousands of visitors over the weekend.  This year it promises to be even better and as a prominent local business, that’s operated in Headingley for more than 16 years, it’s a great event for us to be involved with.

Chris Hill, one of the organisers of Oktoberfest says: “Last year completely outstripped our expectations and attracted people from across Leeds and beyond.  The feedback about the beer, music and food was fantastic and this year we’re confident that we can produce an even better event at a superb venue that offers spacious grounds, space for a marquee as well as a bar and events room which will ensure it’s a success regardless of the weather.

“The event will have a German theme and entry will be free for anyone dressing up as a German – although we want to see more effort than just a token football shirt!  Plus we’ll be serving up a delicious selection of German sausages alongside our more traditional range of pies, burgers and vegetarian options.

“To attract sponsorship from local businesses is also a major coup and we’re delighted that Morgans has come on board again to offer their support.”

Tickets are priced at just £2 and the event starts at 5pm on Friday 11th October and will be open from 12noon to 12am on the Saturday and until 11pm on the Sunday.  To book tickets in advance visit www.headingleybeerfestival.co.uk