City centre living swells to 14,000

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City centre living used to be considered the preserve of younger people - upwardly mobile twentysomethings, or else affluent students.

However, according to one Leeds rental specialist, the landscape is changing as older people get in on the act.

Morgans said the size of the market was now estimated to be around 14,000 people and it recently conducted a survey in a bid to find out more about its clients and what they do.

The results of the questionnaire threw up some interesting facts, not least of which is that more than half of those living in the city centre were sharing, while only a third lived on their own.

The survey also revealed half the people living in the city centre were in their late twenties and early thirties, marking a shift from the traditional pattern of under-25s being the dominant age cohort.

But perhaps the most significant finding is the growth in the number of people choosing to live in the city centre - back in 1997, it was estimated there were just 500 people with city centre pads.

Now there are 14,000.

Over the last 15 years Leeds city centre’s residential property market has grown phenomenally and with current estimates suggesting that approximately 14,000 people now live in the city, a new survey is offering a valuable insight into this growing community.

The research was carried out by Leeds city living specialist Morgans, which manages the city centre’s largest property rental portfolio, and asked hundreds of the firm’s tenants about themselves and their priorities when they are looking for their perfect apartment.

The survey revealed that approximately half of people living in the city are aged between 26 and 35 and around 40 per cent between 19 and 25. Approximately 60 per cent of city apartments are occupied by two people and of these 73 per cent are couples and 23 per cent are housemates sharing a home. A third of the people surveyed live on their own.

The majority of respondents want to commit to renting an apartment for between six and 12 months even though 49 per cent said they expect to live there for between one and two years with 21 per cent saying they will stay for between two and three years.

Three quarters of people said they want a furnished property and the convenience of living in the city centre also means that only half of the tenants surveyed have a car.

Jonathan Morgan, Managing Director of Morgans, pointed out on of the most startling facts: “When we opened our doors in 1997 there were only around 500 hardy souls living in the city but the trend quickly caught on and now there’s a major shortage of city apartments.

“Our occupancy levels stand at more than 99 per cent so it’s no surprise that when people find their perfect property, they expect to stay there for a few years.”

He went on: “By its very nature, city living will always be popular with young people but this is slowly changing and every year we’re seeing more corporate lets and even retired people making their home in the city.

“We also looked at tenant priorities and 44 per cent said a balcony is essential and half of respondents said a central location is key.”

“Plus 56 per cent of people said they would pay extra to live in a building with an on-site gym and almost 90 per cent said a good quality kitchen is important.”

He added: “How things have changed!”

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