Considered the cultural, financial and commercial heart of the West Yorkshire Urban Area, Leeds is a thriving hub, central to the North of England.
A contemporary city, with visions of becoming a ’24 hour European city’, it has been growing a modern economy whilst reflecting its heritage and culture.
This has proven to be a big draw to tourists, workers and investors alike. And we can certainly see why it would be so attractive. In fact, here is why we think you should be considering investing in property in Leeds.
Although Leeds has a noted and fascinating past as an historic wool mill town, these days it is more widely known for its modern cultural attributes.
The city has become somewhat of a hotbed for talented artists, with the likes of Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Kenneth Armitage and Damien Hirst having studied at the Leeds Arts College. It has made a name for itself as being a centre for radical British art. Suffice to say, there’s plenty of art galleries and museums to visit if you’re feeling inspired.
The Leeds Festival, one of the UK’s biggest music festivals, attracts some of the biggest rock and indie acts performing. Headliners have included Blink 182, Metallica and, this year, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, not to mention the approximately 75,000 music fans who attend.
The city also hosts the Leeds International Film Festival, England’s largest film festival outside London. 40,000 eager cinema-goers view over 300 shorts and feature-length films over the course of the festival, with the winning short films eligible to enter the industry’s most prestigious awards ceremony, the Academy Awards.
And then, there’s the shopping.
Yes, if you love to shop, this is the place for you! Leeds has become the principal shopping centre for the entire Yorkshire and the Humber region. This is thanks, in part, to the many indoor shopping centres within the city, including St John’s Centre, the Merrion Centre, The Core, The Light, the Victoria Quarter, Trinity Leeds and the Corn Exchange. These centres feature a combined floor-space of 2,264,100 square feet (210,340 m2), that houses over 1,000 retail stores.
But not content with the proliferation of shopping malls, the city has a large pedestrian zone where many UK and global high street brands can be found. Briggate is the main street where the likes of House of Fraser, Debenhams, Harvey Nichols and Marks & Spencer can be found. If you’re looking for something a little more high-end, head to the Victoria Quarter. Luxury retailers including Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood and Louis Vuitton make themselves at home in this area, amongst some truly incredible architecture.
With so much going on in the city, it’s no wonder that Leeds is a bit of tourist hotspot.
Tourism and Transport
Each year, Leeds welcomes 11.5 million visitors from both the UK and across Europe, either to stay in the city or visit on day trips. This massive industry supports over 20,000 full-time jobs and brings nearly £735 million to the local economy.
When not enjoying the city’s many cultural and historical attractions, visitors can benefit from some fresh air and take in some of the country’s most spectacular scenery at the nearby Yorkshire Dales National Park.
If you now fancy visiting yourself, getting there is easy! Major roadways including the A1, M1 and M62 are in the vicinity, as well as an urban motorway network, which brings drivers right into the city centre via the M621. The city also boasts one of England’s largest and busiest railway stations, with services from London and across the North of England passing through it and connecting to a network of 16 local stations across the region. These services will be further bolstered by the HS2 high speed rail link, which will stop at the Leeds Railway Station.
And if you want to fly into the city, you’re in luck too, as it is served by the Leeds-Bradford Airport offering flights to a variety of destinations in the UK and across Europe.
All of this helps supports a buoyant economy that has seen Leeds become a financial hub.
In Leeds, the financial and services industry is worth over £2 billion, making it the 5th largest in the UK.
Over 30 national and international banks have taken up residence in the city, with First Direct and Yorkshire Bank basing their headquarters there. Leeds has also become an important centre for related sectors such as equity, venture and risk finance. In fact, the UK’s largest provider of risk capital to small and medium-sized enterprises, YFM Equity Partners, was founded in the city. Large corporate and law sectors are present in the city too.
Developing into a modern economy from the post-industrial decay, Leeds is set on becoming a contemporary, 24-hour style city. This has encouraged the rise of creative industries in the city, with companies such as Rockstar (the video game developer that produces hits such as the Grand Theft Auto series) opening an office there.
Leeds has seen a great deal of investment and regeneration in recent years. In an effort to promote further development, the Leeds City Region Enterprise Zone was launched in the city in 2012.
And to provide a fresh, young workforce for these diverse industries, Leeds is served by four universities, as well as a range of college’s and institutions including the aforementioned Leeds Art College. This explains why Leeds has the fourth largest student population in the country, with over 200,000 people studying in the city.
Attractive Property Market
For a city that promotes itself as a financial hub, property prices in Leeds are surprisingly modest. Although they are in line with the generally lower prices found in the North of England. There is also a strong rental market in the city. When you combine these factors with a young workforce and high student population, investors can expect attractive rental yields.
There’s a good mix of property to choose from. Whether you have a preference for classic Victorian houses or modern apartments, you’ll find something you like in the city. And with the ongoing investment in the city centre, developments featuring luxurious penthouses are available too.
And with projects such as the proposed £350million regeneration of the city’s South Bank area – set to include a mix of commercial and residential use, with 4000 homes being built – residents, visitors and investors have a lot to be excited about.
If you enjoyed this article, then you might find our 11 Facts About Leeds useful and fun also.