Leeds property: Demand soars as buyers look to move back city centre as lockdown restrictions ease

Buyers are looking to move back into Leeds city centre, figures show, after an exodus of people during the coronavirus pandemic.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 4:45 am

Demand for properties in the city centre have increased by 39 per cent from January 2021 to April 2021, according to Rightmove.

Nearby York saw the biggest rise in the demand, with an increase of 76 per cent.

This was followed by Norwich (62 per cent), Sheffield (57 per cent) and Southampton (55 per cent).

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Buyers are looking to move back into Leeds city centre, figures show.

Buyer demand is measured by the number of people contacting estate agents to request more details about a property for sale.

Rightmove added that while larger family homes have tended to be the strongest performers in the housing market over the past year, the focus is now shifting to flats.

Rightmove’s housing expert Tim Bannister said: “These are early signs but they certainly point to some good news for city centres across Great Britain, with a number of agents now telling me they’ve seen a marked uptick in demand from first-time buyers, and they’re managing to sell city-centre flats more quickly than in earlier months of the year.

“People starting to venture in to their local high streets and once again experiencing the buzz of their city centres, along with greater mortgage availability for first-time buyers, means city centres are staging a much-needed comeback in the market.

“Right now some buyers are able to grab a relative city bargain compared to the heady price growth outside cities, but these early signs of demand could be the start of city prices rising again.”

Andy McHugo, associate director at James Laurence estate agents in Birmingham, said: “Not only are inquiry levels fantastic, committed residential buyers are now returning.

"The dynamic may have changed slightly, so apartments with balconies or terrace are proving popular, as are those with room for a home office, a second and third bedroom for example.”

The easing of coronavirus restrictions and the recent introduction of the Government-backed 5 per cent deposit mortgage guarantee scheme are said to be helping to boost demand.

A Rightmove survey of more than 1,000 first-time buyers found nearly one in five (17 per cent) are planning to use the mortgage guarantee scheme or are already using it.

The study also indicated that while the desire to move to a quieter location has been driving parts of the housing market over the past year, this is not as appealing to first-time buyers.

While more than a quarter (28 per cent) of existing home owners planning to move in the next 12 months cited a move to the countryside or coast as their motivation, only 10 per cent of first-time buyers were considering doing this.

The city centres that have seen big increases in buyer demand between January and April 2021, with the percentage increase:

– York, 76%

– Norwich, 62%

– Sheffield, 57%

– Southampton, 55%

– Leicester, 53%

– Newcastle, 51%

– Nottingham, 39%

– Leeds, 39%

– Birmingham, 39%

– Inner London, 30%

– Oxford, 28%

– Glasgow, 28%

– Liverpool, 28%

– Chester, 24%

– Edinburgh, 23%

– Hull, 22%

– Durham, 17%

– Cardiff, 11%

– Manchester, 11%

– Bristol, 5%

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