Leeds City Centre’s Latest ‘Built To Rent’ Scheme Nears Completion

New Briggate1

Building work is soon to complete on Leeds city centre’s latest ‘build to rent’ apartment scheme, which is in a prime location on New Briggate.

The development consists of 13 one and two bedroom fully furnished apartments and that are being marketed by Morgans.  The apartments, which will be ready to move into during the summer, are spread across five floors above the city’s highly-acclaimed North Bar, next to the famous Leeds Grand Theatre and less than two minutes’ walk from the flagship John Lewis store which is due to open in late October.

The location of this development alone, is almost enough to ensure its popularity.  It’s ideal for anyone who wants to be right in the heart of Leeds, surrounded by great shops, bars and restaurants.  There are very few rental properties available that are so close to the city’s main retail offering-Trinity Leeds, Harvey Nichols and the new Victoria Gate development with its John Lewis, are all just minutes away and the immediate area is bursting with bars and restaurants including Manahatta, The Brotherhood, Belgrave, Brewdog, and the original Leeds indie bar, Mojo.

The quality of the interior specification is very high and includes air-conditioning to each apartment which is a first for Leeds city centre. Kitchens and bathroom fittings have been carefully selected and the furnishings will be of similarly high quality.

Prices will start at £650pcm for a one-bedroom apartment. To register your interest, or for further information, call us on 0113 398 0099.


City Residents Want To See Selfridges Open In The City

selfridgesAs Leeds continues climbing the league tables of the UK’s best shopping destinations, city centre residents have revealed that Selfridges is the retailer they’d most like to see opening its doors next in Leeds.

Morgans, asked more than 100 of the city’s newest residents, who have recently rented apartments through the company, about their shopping habits and favourite retailers.

Of those surveyed, 15% said Selfridges, which has department stores in London, Birmingham and Manchester, is the retailer they would most like to see come to Leeds.  This was closely followed by John Lewis, which is set to open its biggest store outside London when Victoria Gate opens in autumn.  Other popular choices were Forever 21 and Nike.  When quizzed about favourite shops, Harvey Nichols, Marks & Spencer, Zara, Topshop and Topman all fared particularly well.

Leeds has no shortage of great shops, and the opening of Trinity Leeds in 2013 elevated the city into a different league in terms of its retail offering.  When Victoria Gate opens later this year, it will raise the bar again and should help to cement the city’s position as a European retail destination, attracting an even wider audience.

We carried out this research to find out how big an attraction the city’s retail offering is to people when they are deciding where to live.  Of those surveyed 61% said Leeds city centre’s shops were an important factor when they rented an apartment and 38% are prepared to pay a premium to live within a two minute walk of the main retail area of Briggate.  In addition, a staggering 41% of city residents admit to going into a clothes shop every single day.

In recent years residential development in Leeds city centre has trailed a long way behind the city’s retail, leisure and office developments, with very few new apartments being built.  This has created major stock shortages for people wanting to move into the city and our occupancy rates have averaged 99.5% over the last 18 months, but this finally appears to be improving.

This year will see work start on approximately 300 new city centre homes, which will be ready for occupation during 2017 and this will help to ease tenant demand as well as mirroring the confidence that is so visible in many other parts of the city’s property market.

Clamour to invest in residential property

Construction News recently set about trying to put the PRS sector into perspective.

It’s an interesting time for this relatively new investment type and not since the buy to let boom of 2001-2007 have we seen such a clamour to invest in residential property.

The institutional ‘PRS’ model should be distinguished entirely from the long-established private rented sector which tends, on the whole, to provide housing for middle markets, capturing and holding demand from those who fuel the engine room of the economy – average earners in offices, retail, hospitality and the creative industries.

Institutional PRS is predicated on a model which assumes that a package of enhanced amenities such as concierge, gym, residents’ lounge, cinema room and hotel style lobby will drive a 25-30% premium on rental levels and yet there is absolutely no evidence to support this other than that which is available from Europe and the US, where PRS is a long-established and predominant tenure.

Such is the weight of money in a wide range of institutions, from Aviva to AIG, that PRS deals are being brokered at break-neck speed up and down the country with little apparent attention being paid to market depth, absorption rates and credible rental premium. In a market such as London where there are real and significant barriers to entry into the housing market, it follows that high volumes of premium rental, with longer dwell times, will stand the test of time.

In many other cities, particularly in the North, it would be prudent to pay heed to the fact that housing markets are generally not prohibitively priced – on Rightmove last week, for example, there were 250 properties available in Leeds at £125,000 or less.

Many models assume that consumers will significantly increase the proportion of their income they are prepared to spend on their monthly rent and will in turn prioritise their monthly rental commitment over any notion of saving for a deposit. This in turn assumes that the Millennial generation has decided that to rent is better than to buy. An unlikely scenario in a society in which home ownership is a staple.