The Prime Minister recently announced a massive investment programme directed towards growing the Northern Powerhouse project, with £556m being allocated to growing business, infrastructure and housing.
One of the issues that many predicted local economies would face was the continuing decrease in disposable income, meaning that people have less spending power. However, Leeds seems to be faring well on this front. Town Centre Securities, one of England’s biggest property developers, reported record footfall at its Merrion Centre shopping mall in 2016 and said the opening of Trinity Leeds and Victoria Gate has turned Leeds into “a premier shopping destination.”
As reported in the Yorkshire Post, the Leeds-based firm said Merrion attracted 11.5 million visitors last year, up 3.4 per cent on 2015, and the new Arena Quarter is now fully let. Leeds has always had a strong retail element to its economy, and these figures only reinforce that.
At the heart of the push to capitalise on Leeds’ economic success is a ‘digital Leeds’ which the city council are promoting in the hope of growing the city’s strong technology sector. According to the Yorkshire Evening Post, Leeds City Council is launching a brand new drive to equip Leeds’ thousands of “digitally excluded” adults with basic online skills. It is estimated that the campaign - to be called “100% Digital Leeds” - could help generate £45m for the city’s economy over the next decade, and more than £4m in the first year alone. According to research, there are approximately 90,000 adults in the city who can be described as lacking basic digital skills.
On top of this, there are more than 3,500 digital organisations in Leeds, according to Leeds Data City, a non-profit organisation which enables businesses and individuals to use technology and data for the benefit of the city. Between 2010 and 2014, the cluster experienced the highest salary growth in the UK, at 29%, as well as turnover growth of 47% in the same period.
This also partners with the residential and commercial property sectors growing steadily, with yields, capital growth and tenancy rates all staying strong year-on-year. Landlords had perhaps been expected to downgrade their activity in the market considering the tax changes following the tax changes announced in 2016, but there is no indication that this has been the case so far.
Thanks to Leeds’ growing economy, excellent infrastructure and strong property market there are now more people than ever looking to move to the city, and those people will need high quality rental accommodation. Apartments in the city centre are selling fast, and the young professional rental market in the city is a hot commodity for property investors.
2017 has begun well for Leeds and the Northern Powerhouse as a whole, and the indications are that it could enjoy one of its strongest years in recent memory. Looking to invest in Leeds or any of the other nearby Northern Powerhouse cities? Have a look at our available investment opportunities!