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’!