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Investment Market Report: Leeds

This month we will start a three part review of the Yorkshire property market with a look at the largest individual market in the region, the city of Leeds.

Background and demographics
With a population around 774,000, Leeds itself is the third largest city in the UK, although not the third largest conurbation. The city grew little during the 20th century but has grown briskly since the millennium. Projections suggest that over the coming years Leeds’ population will grow slower than the UK average but faster than the rest of the Yorkshire and Humberside region. ONS estimates suggest it could reach 819,000 by 2024 and exceed 930,000 by 2033.

The Leeds City Region and travel to work area covers most of West Yorkshire including Bradford, Huddersfield, Halifax and Wakefield, and extends out into North Yorkshire, including Skipton, Harrogate and York. Local authority estimates say that the Leeds City Region has an overall population of 3m, a workforce of 1.37m and an economy worth £62.5bn. Invest Leeds City Region adds that there are over 109,000 companies here generating 5% of England’s total economic output and that the Leeds City Region economy alone is bigger than nine European countries.

A recent study by the Centre for Cities found that Leeds ranks very highly – third only behind London and Manchester – in terms of ‘brain gain’. That is, on balance, it gains more new and recent graduates than it loses when university students move on after graduation.

Leeds’ economy was traditionally industrial but important sectors are now financial and professional services, digital and information services, precision manu-facturing, health and innovation, retail, and food and drink. The Centre for Cities have reported that Leeds has one of the highest ratios of private to public sector jobs of all major UK cities. The local authority says that Leeds is only second to London as a centre for banking services. They say that 14,000 people are employed in banking here, plus 46,000 in professional services, and optimistically forecast that this sector will grow by 50% by 2022.

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