The Yorkshire and Humberside region offers investors some of the lowest property prices in the country. According to the latest Land Registry figures average property prices are around a quarter of those in London, and it is even possible to purchase an investment property for well under £50,000. In this report I will look at some of the main investment locations investors might consider in West Yorkshire itself, together with what sort of property opportunities they offer and current pricing.
Leeds is the largest city in the region with a population of around 750,000 making it the fourth largest city in England. It is the epicentre of the Leeds City Region which has an overall population of 3m.
Leeds is also the largest regional economy by far, with a particularly strong services sector in finance and law and a growing digital sector. Most regional inward investment and development schemes tending to gravitate here. It is also one of the UK’s largest university cities, particularly popular with students from southern England, with around 60,000 students at the two largest universities.
The Leeds residential property market is very diverse and offers investors a wide range of investment opportunities. City centre apartment living is now well established and after a slowdown in the recession new schemes are now underway. There is a very large student property sector mainly focussed on the northern and western inner suburbs, together with purpose built student developments in the centre. The southern suburbs offer inexpensive buy to let investment in terrace properties.
Leeds generally has the most expensive property market in West Yorkshire. However, the affluent northern suburbs have some of the county’s highest property prices which tends to skew figures somewhat.
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Bradford has a population of around 522,000. Historically one of the world’s most important textile cities, this sector has been in decline for several decades now and current significant industries include light manufacturing, chemicals and financial services. The city frequently loses out in terms of inward investment and regeneration schemes to neighbouring Leeds. The University of Bradford has a relatively small enrolment of 13,000 students.
Although there are desirable residential areas Bradford is home to some of the most deprived wards in the country. It is also one of the few cities where city living has failed to take off. The weaker economy here in comparison to Leeds means that Bradford offers some of the cheapest investment property in the whole West Yorkshire area. The average property price in Bradford is just under £100,000, although purchase prices start at around £35,000.
Huddersfield has a population of 162,000 making it the eleventh largest town in the UK overall. Traditionally the heart of the woollen industry the town is now home to textile, chemical and engineering industries. Huddersfield enjoys good road and rail connections to the cities of Leeds and Manchester and any future high speed rail link, should it happen, could put Huddersfield within 15 minutes commuting time of both city centres.
The Huddersfield residential market tends to be clearly divided between low cost housing areas in the central districts while the more popular, higher priced commuter areas are in semi-rural areas further out. Another significant factor in the property market here is the student sector – Huddersfield is home to West Yorkshire’s only university outside Leeds/Bradford which, for the size of the town, has a large student enrolment of around 20,000. Entry level investments here start at around £55,000 and the average property value in the Kirklees metropolitan area of which Huddersfield is part is around £120,000.
Formerly the economy here was based on mining and engineering but the city is now a centre for light manufacturing, services and particularly transport/distribution. Its economy benefits from close proximity to the M1, M62, the east coast main railway line and ready access to Leeds just 10 miles away. Wakefield has undergone extensive redevelopment over the last decade with several city centre regeneration projects and extensive distribution/business park development, especially in adjacent towns such as Normanton and Castleford.
Although some small city living schemes have been developed over the last few years most of the housing stock here tends to be suburban and semi-rural. Property investments here start at around £80,000.
Halifax has a population of 82,000 and, like Huddersfield, was once a major centre for the woollen industry. Current industries centre around financial services, IT, food processing, light manufacturing and, given the town’s close proximity to the M62, distribution.
The central and suburban areas of Halifax itself tend to offer entry level property investment opportunities starting at around £45,000, while the more sought after residential and commuter areas are in the surrounding, western areas such as Sowerby Bridge and Hebden Bridge. The average property value in the Calderdale metropolitan area of which Halifax is a part is currently just over £100,000.
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