The results of Deloitte’s Crane Survey are in, with Leeds seeing the second highest number of construction new starts since records began in 2007.
Construction in Leeds continues to boom, with 22 new developments breaking ground in 2022 – on par with 2021’s figures. It’s news that demonstrates tenacity and resilience, as the city has shown record-breaking construction activity over recent years, despite the uncertainty of the pandemic and ongoing cost-of-living crisis. With plenty of new developments underway across the residential, student, office and leisure space, the future is definitely bright.
The city continues to grow
By equalling the number of new starts in 2021, development across the city shows no signs of slowing down, marking an exciting period of growth and transformation. Census data shows that the Leeds population increased by 8.1% from 2011 to 2021 – 1.5% higher than the overall UK population increase. This burgeoning figure reflects the city’s growing attraction as a place to work, study and live, with 35% of graduates choosing to stay in Leeds post-uni.
An investment in future talent
2022 saw a notable boom in student accommodation, with seven new residences breaking ground. These new developments mean there are 11 schemes currently under construction, adding 3,294 beds – a record number of student residential constructions, reflecting the growth in student numbers across the city. New projects include Carlton Hill which features landscaped sky gardens and an environment designed to support student wellbeing.
A rise in city centre renters
There were five new residential starts commenced in 2022, delivering 747 new homes to the market, and bringing the total figure under construction up to 3,226 homes across 15 schemes. The notable trend is the shift towards the private rented sector – this sector has grown to account for 20% of housing stock across the city overall, with 65% of residential developments currently underway in the city centre built to rent.
The evolving future of office space
With a rise in hybrid working post-Covid, it’s no shock that the number of office new starts dropped from the previous year, alongside a dip in the amount of floorspace completed in deals. However, businesses continued to demand premium office space, with a growing desire for amenity-rich and carbon-conscious developments. On the whole, office take up remains strong in the face of nationwide economic uncertainty, with 34 deals completed in Q3 alone.
New hotels on the horizon
Two new hotel starts broke ground in 2022 – Sovereign Square No.2 and the Jubilee Hotel on East Parade – delivering 392 rooms in total, with both projects due for completion early 2024. This figure is double that of the previous two years’ activity, with more luxury high-end hotels expected on the horizon, as investment brings new visitors to the city. One such project is the Wesley, which will see a former Grade II methodist church transformed into a 4-star lodging.
Reducing the city’s carbon footprint
As employers and tenants become increasingly aware of their carbon footprint, so does the demand for green work and living spaces. As such, climate change is a topic high on the agenda of the development industry. The city has seen the delivery of net zero carbon buildings such as Globe Point, as well as the award-winning Citu Climate Innovation District, but work needs to be done to introduce sustainable residential developments that are accessible to all.
A bright, green future for the city
As Leeds continues to shake the after-effects of the pandemic, there’s a lot to be upbeat about. Construction levels remain strong, with key investment into student living paving the way for the city’s future workforce. A shared desire for sustainable work and living spaces sees an influx in innovative green developments, keeping us on the road to net zero. With Leeds 2023’s Year of Culture ongoing and more changes on the horizon, the future is undeniably bright.