Homes To Rent In Leeds’s Secret Garden


Home hunters are being given the chance to move into a luxury property with grounds once visited by J R R Tolkien. Hollies Park Court is a four-apartment building next to The Hollies, a Victorian villa located within Meanwood Park, near Weetwood.

The house’s gardens are known for their botanical significance, and are home to oak woods, waterfalls, rhodedendrons and azaleas set on a hillside. The building was gifted to the city of Leeds in 1921 by George Brown in memory of his son, Harold, who was killed in action in World War One.

The house became a sanatorium for children with tuberculosis and the grounds were opened to the public. Lord of the Rings author Tolkien was known to have wandered around the attractive woodland dell. The modern property on Weetwood Lane includes two large apartments which have recently gone onto the lettings market. The two-bedroom ground floor flat is available for £1,200 per month, while the top floor flat, which has a luxury fitted kitchen, is priced at £1,500 per month.

Both have been recently refurbished, have secure parking and scenic views over the park with a great specification and layout. They will no doubt appeal to people who want to be close to the city, but are attracted to the natural environment of the park setting.

An architectural competition with a difference – The Carbuncle Cup



How uplifting recently to read about the losers and the losers in the Building Design Magazine Carbuncle Cup – there can be no winners in a competition whose very purpose is to bring to the attention of the public the worst buildings of the year. You might be tempted to think that a competition founded on just how bad a building might be would fail to engage but thinly veiled contempt can be equally as enthralling as gushing admiration.


Romping home in first place was Lincoln Plaza in Docklands, described as “yet another shameful indictment of bad planning as well as bad architecture”. Of an extension to Poole Methodist Church, a nominee said; “The building screams of the same bland, belligerent mediocrity that is the insidious moniker of ostensibly polite and ubiquitous background architecture everywhere and of new offices, One Smithfield, in Stoke on Trent… An aesthetic mutation between the nostalgic 1980s brain games of Connect 4 and Blockbusters might not seem like a natural breeding ground for architectural malevolence but this building proves what happens when colour goes rogue.’’


The judging panel, responding to a wave of public nominations, apparently see the awards as a counter to much heralded Stirling Prize, and clearly delight in what they see as architectural faux pas. No building is safe from the threat of the Carbuncle Cup it seems.


St Peter’s Apartments Gain Praise From Buyers

St Peters Hall Leeds

The remaining apartments at an exclusive development of historic buildings in the grounds of Leeds Minster have been released for sale following the resounding success of the first phase.

The majority of the eight remaining individual one bedroom apartments at St Peter’s House & Hall have a parking space, and the location on The Calls in Leeds City Centre has really appealed to buyers.

The first apartments to go on sale at St Peter’s Hall offered a rare opportunity for people to buy a new home in one of Leeds’ most popular residential areas, and as a result sold quickly, attracting plenty of interest from both investors and owner occupiers.

The sensitive restoration of the attractive heritage buildings means that no two apartments are the same, and they all benefit from a host of period features. The second phase of the development – St Peter’s House – which sits alongside the Hall, has a mix of North facing apartments which enjoy stunning views of Leeds Minster, whilst those to the South side of the building overlook The Calls. The one bedroom homes start from £140,000.

The Calls is just a ten minute walk from the railway station, and there are a host of quality restaurants, bars, shops and theatres on the doorstep.

The luxury specification, contemporary kitchens and bathrooms and character features really set the tone for this high-quality, sensitively restored, beautiful red-bricked building.  We are confident the last few homes will really appeal to buyers wanting to live in one of the best City Centre locations in Leeds.

Work on St Peter’s Hall is now complete and work on St Peter’s House is due for completion towards the end of the year.

City Residents Spend Less Than 30% Of Their Income On Rent

AffordabilityResearch from our tenants reveals that the vast majority of people renting apartments in Leeds city centre spend less than 30 per cent of their gross salary on rent.

We analysed data from hundreds of new tenants since the start of the year to determine how much rent people pay as a proportion of their income.

The data reveals that 38 per cent of new tenants are spending between 21 and 30 per cent of their pre-tax salary on rent and 31 per cent spend between 11 and 20 per cent.  Just 16 per cent have committed to rents that amount to between 31 and 40 per cent of their wage.

In stark contrast, figures from The House of Commons Library, which provides impartial information and research services, revealed that in London, private-sector rental costs have rocketed from 49 per cent of average pre-tax income to 62 per cent since 2010.

As part of our credit checking process, we always make sure that tenants can comfortably afford the rental prices they are committing to, which reduces the risk of them running into financial difficulties.

It’s encouraging to see that rental prices are affordable for the vast majority of tenants who rent apartments in Leeds city centre, which is in stark contrast to many other parts of the country.  This is despite the fact that tenant demand continues to outstrip supply with our occupancy levels averaging over 99.5% per cent over the last two years.

Even with rents being realistic, landlords investing in buy to let apartments can still expect to achieve gross rental yields of more around 6 or 7% in Leeds city centre.  These attractive yields combined with the latest cut in interest rates and the ongoing improvements across so many parts of the city, are resulting a surge in investor activity which we can only see increasing over time.

Brexit and the Housing Market

linkedIn picture August 2016

Clearly, much of what has been written post-referendum is pure conjecture and the reality is that no-one, including the most talented of economists, or gifted of speculators, actually knows what impact our exit from the EU may have.  This is true of our prospects economically, politically and in the housing market where we at Morgans are entirely vested.

Our view is that the referendum was one in a long series of what might be called significant events; the list includes the dramatic stock market crashes of Black Monday in 1987, 911 and the financial crisis of 2007. Immediately following each of these events, we were told that the world had changed and that things would never be the same. A meeting of economists in December 1987 concluded that ‘’the next few years could be the most troubled since the 1930’s’’. As it happened, the economy was barely affected and went on to grow through 1988 with the stock market recovering to its pre-crash level by early 1989. Who would have believed that Iran and the USA were exchanging missile attacks in the gulf as a pre-curser to the 1987 crash?

The world financial markets have been shaken so hard over the last 25 years that it is hard to believe that they have survived, and yet they have.

Much has been said of the potential impact of Brexit on the housing market, a full two years before Brexit is actually implemented and irrespective of the fact we are yet to invoke Article 50, which will trigger the beginning of this course of events. The government is carefully picking its way through a minefield of potential scenarios and, no doubt, assembling a team of trade negotiators, suitable in quantum and skill so as to be able to competently face-off with the 6,000 plus such negotiators currently employed by the EU.

In the meantime, it has been and remains business as usual in Leeds city centre and the North Leeds rentals market. Leeds is a city in growth, economically and physically and is, we believe, very well placed to withstand the impact of external forces. Job creation is high, a wide variety of skills are within reach, our economy is diverse across sectors as disparate as manufacturing and legal and professional services and the housing market is accessible to most. Whilst the London market is unaffordable to most and due a correction, the same should not be said of Leeds. A recent search on Rightmove of all Leeds postcodes showed that there were over 120 three bedroomed properties available for sale at under £120,000.

The fundamentals haven’t changed; we have too many people chasing not enough properties and until such time as this changes significantly, for example, by a dramatic upturn in the supply of new properties, the supply and demand characteristics of the housing market are unlikely to alter.




Fantastic Five Bolster Sales Division

Morgans new appointments summer 2016

Five new staff have been appointed at Morgans, bolstering its sales division.

Mark Nowoslawski, Ben Murphy and Victoria Hague join as sales negotiators and Amy Wright and Trina Higgins as sales coordinators.

Emma Eastwood, who has worked for the property company for 17 years, has been promoted to rentals and sales manager. She previously managed the rentals team, but will now also be responsible for the sales team, who are all based at the firm’s Dock Street office.  Morgans now employs a team of 44 people.

As the residential property market continues to gain momentum, we have enjoyed our best quarter for 10 years in terms of apartment sales, so it’s important that we attract talented new team members to the division.

Morgans manages the largest rentals portfolio of apartments in the City which range in price from £500 to over £2,500 per calendar month. The firm also has a dedicated corporate arm, dealing with businesses relocating staff to Leeds, and a highly experienced sales division which is currently marketing a range of city centre homes suitable for owner occupiers, corporate organisations and investors that range in price from £95,000 to over £700,000.

Business at the firm’s City and North Leeds offices is up by around 10% in comparison to the first quarter last year.

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.

The housing market is not one but many


A survey by Rightmove this week looked at the best performing locations for first time buyers in the South-East. Among the top ten were Dartford, Watford and Luton, where prices have risen by over 18% in the last year, presumably driven by continued price growth in the increasingly unaffordable central London boroughs.

Leading the way was Croydon, with an 18.6% price rise in the last year and an average first time buyer property price of £297,000. The surge in buy-to-let demand ahead of Stamp Duty Changes appears to have left the Spring market place a little short of stock, which will only make it harder for first-timers to make their first purchase.

So what does nearly £300,000 get you in Croydon? You could buy a 1 bed flat in Green Dragon House- at 440sq ft, this is a £per square foot rate of £681. The apartment is available off plan and has access to a roof garden but has no parking. Alternatively, you could buy a 2 bed end of terrace cottage with a yard and in need of full modernisation but ‘within easy reach of both East and West Croydon’. Not sure if that’s a good thing.

If you’re feeling really competitive, you could join the ‘Open house’ at a 2 bed apartment in Ashley Lane on the market at £300,000 where apparently ‘buyers fees apply’ and ‘you should see the bid pack’. Mmmmmm.

Then again, head to Leeds and, as at 20th May 2016, you could take your pick on Rightmove of 250 different 3 bed properties at £125,000 or less.