Relocating to Leeds: the lettings market

Leeds is the third-largest city in the UK, with a population of over 726,000. Located in West Yorkshire, with Harrogate to the north, Bradford to west, Sheffield to the south and Hull to the east, Leeds is a bustling metropolis surrounded by approximately 25 attractive suburbs and steeped in industrial heritage.

Today’s economic landscape couldn’t be further from its past. After London, Leeds it reported to be the largest legal centre in the UK, and it’s the location for many telephone banking headquarters and financial services, including First Direct, Santander, YFM Equity Partners, Direct Line and even the only subsidiary of the Bank of England outside of London. Leeds City Council furthered its credentials as a ’24-hour European city and capital of the north’ by launching the Leeds City Region Enterprise Zone in 2012, to promote development in four sites along the A63.

Leeds is home to four universities, with the fourth largest student population in the UK. It ensures there is an ever-present demand for low-end rental properties, with many students choosing to stay on in the city once graduated, moving on to more salubrious lets.

Property investors are keen on Leeds for two additional reasons. Estate agent Savills reports that the city’s property values are still well below their peak seen in 2007 – maybe as much as 15% below – even though there is a modest price appreciation of 7% (enough to give investors some growth). The second reason investors are keen lies actually in London, with Leeds forming part of the High Speed 2 rail proposal. The line might be as far off as 2032, with journey times from Leeds to London set to be reduced from 132 to 82 minutes, but the prospect alone is enough to entice home movers and investment.

Returning to its past, it’s the historic aspect of Leeds that has led to the city’s current revival. Its industrial revolution grounded in the textile industry has left a legacy of handsome yet redundant warehouses on the banks of the River Aire. Many of the wool and flax mills have been converted into residential use, and many of the apartment carved from the Victorian buildings have fallen into the private rental sector. Elsewhere there is a profusion of towering new build developments and some Victorian and post-war properties, although it’s typical for rental apartments to outnumber rental houses on a ratio of 4:1. Tenants looking for more spacious homes are served better by Leeds’ suburbs.

As well as a surge in residential interest, the areas around Call Lane, the Northern Quarter of Merrion Street and Greek Street have attracted hip bars and restaurants, catering for young professionals and the student population. Couple this with a range of cultural facilities, a plentiful supply of shopping centres (with spending power that attracted Harvey Nichols), Leeds Bradford International airport and a fantastic motorway network, and Leeds deserves its premier billing.

According to property search engine, average per calendar month rents in Leeds stand at £506pm for a one-bedroom property; £695pm for two-bedrooms; £807pm for three bedrooms and £1,000+pcm for a property with four bedrooms or more.

Our relocation agents are currently active in Leeds, sourcing properties to rent and helping settle home movers. If you have clients relocating to Leeds and would like orientation and rental advice, contact Klippa Relocation today.


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