Just five years ago the fate of city living seemed sealed. A deluge of apartments , developed to meet a perceived demand, saturated the market.
The ‘new communities’ were nothing of the sort, instead vast swathes of empty waterside flats owned by investors.
Now the market has done a 180. The recession saw increasing numbers of people declined mortgages, forced to consider renting – thus the city centre rentals market has boomed.
“This time last year we would have had about 100 properties up for rent,” says Mike Moon, Linley and Simpson’s city centre branch manager. “Now we have about 35 on the market.
“Although they couldn’t have gone on building more apartment blocks, we could do with one or two more now just so we can meet the demand. It’s so high that most of the properties we let still have occupiers in them and, the minute their tenancies elapse, they can move someone else straight in.”
City living sales remain difficult, however. Matt Wood moved into his riverside apartment in 2011 and even though he’s financially secure, mortgage providers still seem reluctant to offer him a new mortgage now his deal is due to end.
“I think a lot of the banks got their fingers burned” he says. “And now they say they’re reluctant to lend to buy any apartments above the first floor – which is pretty much every place in the heart of Leeds.”
But it’s not all bad news. Paul Taylor is a director at Creative Space Management and has been buying and selling city living pads for the past four years.
“I think the market is just correcting itself now,” he says. “The flats were overpriced initially, then they fell too low when the recession came – some were 50 per cent of their original price.
“From looking around I think they’re selling for closer to 65 per cent of their original price. Things seem to have got better just in the past few months with more of a variety of people moving in as owner/occupiers. Which can only be a good thing for city living”.