Jonathan Morgan is managing director at city living specialists Morgans, based in Headingley. Here, he tells us what’s on the wishlists of tenants wanting to move into new city centre apartments and he says we could see a host of new developments by 2016.
As the economy continues to recover, developers are preparing to start on a number of new residential developments in Leeds city centre and new research from city living specialist Morgans offers a fascinating insight into what residents want from the next generation of apartment schemes.
We manage Leeds city centre’s largest rental portfolio and we asked hundreds of its tenants about themselves and their priorities when it comes to looking for their perfect apartment.
Almost half of those surveyed said finding a good-sized, light, airy apartment in a central location are priorities in their property search. Just over 80 per cent of respondents also said utility costs are an important consideration and 44 per cent said a balcony is a crucial feature.
The research also revealed that 48 per cent of city apartments are car free and only 10 per cent of apartments require parking for two or more cars.
In addition almost 80 per cent of people said having an immediate broadband connection is imperative, 65 per cent want good sound insulation and 56 per cent of people revealed they would pay a premium to live in a building with an on-site gym.
Plus, contrary to popular belief, more than two thirds of respondents didn’t think it was important to have an open plan living and kitchen area and less than a fifth are concerned about being part of a community within a development.
Also, for any developers ‘building to rent’ 76 per cent of tenants want furnished properties and 43 per cent of tenants said it was essential for them to rent from a reputable landlord.
Two thirds of tenants also wanted the option of a longer or shorter tenancy rather than a standard six-month agreement.
As the economic recovery continues a number of developers are now exploring residential developments again in the city centre and revisiting sites that were mothballed during the downturn.
As a result we expect to see several new developments delivered over the next 18 months.
These are desperately needed because our figures suggest that out of 11,000 city centre apartments, only about 100 are currently sitting empty.
However, even though demand is outstripping supply, developers still have to give residents what they want or face losing them.
This is especially true if they want to charge a premium for their apartments with energy efficiency, gyms, fast broadband and good sound insulation all proving more popular than generous car parking, open plan living spaces and being part of a community.