Channel 4s decision to relocate to Leeds has put the city in the spotlight.
Sharon Dale looks at the impact on the property market.
When Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon told staff that the broadcaster would open its new headquarters in Leeds, she says: “there was “a buzz in the room, there were whistles of delight. The team were all immediately on Rightmove looking at Leeds, which is about as positive a sign as you could get.”
The Yorkshire “capital” was a clear winner and obviously a popular choice. It beat off competition from Manchester and Birmingham, which were also on the shortlist of options for Channel 4.
About a quarter of its 840 staff are to begin relocating next summer and there will be another 100 roles created by the broadcaster by 2023 as it plans to open a new broadcasting studio and a digital creative unit.
Some of those relocating from Channel 4’s London base to Leeds may not be on the property ladder and the move north could give them a chance to buy.
Those who decide to sell up in the capital to buy in or around Leeds will get an awful lot more “bang for their buck”.
The average house price in Leeds is £183,651 and in London it is £486,304, according to the latest Land Registry figures.
The city centre will be the first choice for the younger members of staff and, perhaps, for older ones who are used to apartment living. Prices for a decent one-bedroom flat start at about £100,000.
However, choice will be limited, at least for a while.
Jonathan Morgan of city centre rental and sales specialists Morgans says: “Demand remains very strong across the city centre and activity levels continue to be held back only by a lack of supply for rentals and a lack of high quality new schemes for owner-occupiers.”
However, he adds that “Conditions looks set fair for a period of meaningful activity.
We firmly expect to see significant numbers of new home-makers enjoying a choice of new apartment schemes for the first time in over a decade and also growing numbers of empty-nesters buying into larger apartments in the new wave of high quality schemes being built specifically with them in mind.”
For those looking to to the city centre fringe areas and the suburbs, hipster hotspot Chapel Allerton, known to residents as “Chapel A”, should prove attractive.
It has fashionable bars, restaurants and shops but it’s popularity has pushed up prices, though you can get a two-bedroom townhouse in a good area from £225,000.
Mark Manning, managing director of Manning Stainton, says that Oakwood between upmarket Roundhay and edgy Harehills, is shaping up to take Chapel A’s crown.
According to Mark all the signs are there, including the new Scandinavian inspired, vegan- friendly Gron Kafe.
You can get a three-bed semi in Oakwood for about £200,000.
Kirkstall, on the edge of the city centre, should be on Channel 4 employees lists. Three-bedroom terraced houses start from £140,000. “There used to be a lot of students there but now it’s young professionals and they are regenerating properties there,” says Mark.
Along with a some good pubs, it has the highly-rated Dos Amigos tapas restaurant and there’s a railway station at Kirkstall Forge, offering a ten minute journey into Leeds central.
Kirkstall Forge is a new, mixed use, riverside community being built by CEG, which will include contemporary housing designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios. The houses there don’t go on sale until the end of 2019 and won’t be starter homes but they should be worth waiting for.
Those with families might want to target Roundhay and Headingley or they may venture to top-ranking satellite towns such as Ilkley, Harrogate or Wakefield, all of which have top-performing schools and train stations with easy links to Leeds.
However, for better value, they could take a look at Apperley Bridge on fringe of Bradford and Leeds and East Leeds, both touted as up-and-coming areas by Manning Stainton.
Apperley Bridge has a new rail link to Leeds, while East Leeds, which includes Crossgates, Garforth, Whinmoor, Colton and Halton, looks like a good investment.
Prices are rising fast in the east of the city and developers, including Strata, have targeted the area thanks to its access to the city centre, the A1 and M1 and The Springs, a new shopping centre at Thorpe Park. Prices start from about £130,000 for a terraced house.
For those who decide to buy in Yorkshire, their investment should grow according to Savills latest five year forecast comes true.
It predicts that while London property values will see a 4.5 per cent increase between 2019 and 2023 while Yorkshire’s will see a 20.5 per cent growth.
As for the Channel 4 effect on the property market in Leeds. Sales to staff won’t make a huge difference to the over-all buoyancy but the new HQ has already added feel-good factor.
Mark Manning says: “Channel 4 moving here will certainly make more people sit up and take notice. Leeds is a great city with easy access to countryside and good connectivity to London. The thing we lack is a high speed transport system within the city.”
Jonathan Morgan adds: “Leeds continues to build on its already strong reputation as a great city in which to live, work and play and sentiment is very positive. Our view is that the next few years will be all about Leeds in the northern context and the arrival of a national broadcaster in the heart of the city will give nothing but confidence to potential investors or homemakers.”