Leeds:  A year in review

In a year of mixed news there was a small collection of Northern cities that managed to buck the trend for grim predictions, downbeat forecasts and sluggish performance. While London and much of the South East struggled under slowing rates of investment, low productivity and pressure from a stagnant property market, the North West managed to shift up a gear in its quest to be at the forefront of the planned Northern Powerhouse.

Leeds:  A year in review

Announced in 2014, the Northern Powerhouse project is now flourishing. That is not to say there have been no significant setbacks in that time, of course; the vote to leave the European Union certainly had an effect. As news filtered through that the Leave campaign had won and the UK would leave the EU, the former Prime Minister David Cameron tendered his resignation and was replaced by Theresa May. The Northern Powerhouse project subsequently took a hit with the sacking of its architect and champion, ex-Chancellor George Osborne. Following the Cabinet reshuffle, the future of the Northern Powerhouse was left in doubt.

However, all was not lost. Manchester, the business and investment capital of the North and the UK’s second city, has been doing very well in 2016, but how are the other Northern Powerhouse cities getting on? The Northern Powerhouse has now reached a point where it has gained enough momentum to carry itself forward with little or no government intervention, and that is thanks largely to the tenacity and innovation seen not only in Manchester but also in cities such as Leeds. The Yorkshire city has had a lot to celebrate in 2016 and is set for a successful 2017 as well.

In recent history Leeds has been recognised as Yorkshire’s premier business hub and the source of much prosperity. ​Leeds is the UK’s fastest growing city and is the main driver of a city region with an economy worth £60.5 billion, a population of 3 million, and a workforce of 1.5 million.

The property market around the city region has changed even over the course of the last twelve months, with new and impressive projects beginning and being completed on a weekly basis.

Leeds has seen year on year growth in property values increase to 5.5% this year with off-plan builds in particular offering fast growth in capital gains. As the London property market continues to struggle to cope with the twin problems of new tax laws introduced by the Treasury and a stagnating prime property price growth, the Northern cities have happily welcomed the mass of people moving away from the capital to find a more affordable lifestyle. Leeds has definitely benefited from this trend in 2016.

After a strong year and good property performance, the region was also boosted by the announcement in the Autumn Statement that Yorkshire would receive £9 billion in investment funding from the government for 29 planned infrastructure projects.

As the year draws to a close it can be seen that Leeds is set to continue on its prosperous path despite the huge challenges ahead. Business, jobs, investment and property are all forecasted to grow in the city region, and, with the rest of the Northern Powerhouse comfortably outperforming the capital, we can expect 2017 to be another strong year for Leeds and the North.


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