Leeds behind other cities in housing game

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A shake-up of city living in Leeds is needed if the city is to compete with northern counterparts say property and planning experts.

Compared to Manchester, Leeds is lagging behind in terms of new homes that are being completed and also its approach to differing markets.

According to a Deloitte survey, Manchester had 6963 residential units under construction last year - and Leeds had just 619. It also had 39 new starts on housing schemes whereas Leeds had 16.

Leeds has seen a trend of planning applications for high-rise one and two bed apartment blocks aimed at students, singles and young couples, but the question is being asked what does the city do for professionals with families and older residents who want to stay in the city centre.

Jonathan Morgan, managing director of Morgan City Living letting and property agents said: “Manchester has a huge northern gateway plan. On the one hand it has upmarket private rented sector, a sensible number of private for sale and affordable council type housing on the edge of the city. They have covered all bases really.

“Here we are struggling to make PRS work as there is not the belief in rents that there are in Manchester. This will come in time but the PRS sector should also look to invest in more traditional house types in the inner and outer suburbs, where markets are equally starved of supply.’

Cllr Peter Gruen, raised the issue at a previous City Plans panel, calling for a survey of what is available and where the council needs to act.

And Cllr Richard Lewis, member for regeneration, transport and planning, said the figures were not a fair comparison because Manchester is a smaller city.

He added: “We are keen to get families in. It is the way forward and there are so many advantages, but it is not an easy fix. It is a long term project and it is going to happen.”

Elijah Lawal, Google's communications manager for the UK and Ireland.

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