Leeds: The Knightsbridge of the North

Best city to live and work in the North of England (2021)

Average property prices 15% below UK average

Fastest rate of private-sector jobs growth of any UK city

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Leeds Property Investment

Situated in the thriving northern region of Yorkshire, Leeds boasts a prime, well-connected location that has earned it the reputation of being England's second-largest financial hub. This dynamic city, which fosters a forward-thinking and diverse economy, attracts professionals from across the UK and beyond, making it an ideal place to live and work. Additionally, Leeds is home to a rapidly expanding student population and a housing market that struggles to meet demand. Given these factors, it comes as no surprise that investors are increasingly drawn to Leeds' property market, where they discover compelling investment opportunities.

Currently, Leeds is grappling with a substantial housing shortage that is anticipated to endure as the city experiences sustained growth. Despite regeneration initiatives infusing new business prospects and properties into Leeds, the supply is struggling to keep pace with demand—a crucial consideration for property investment in the area. As a premier university city with an abundant pool of young graduates, Leeds consistently faces pressure on its rental market. Bolstered by an economy rich in high-end job opportunities, average incomes within the city are steadily increasing. This surge of young professionals capable of paying higher rent positions Leeds as an attractive prospect for investors seeking buy-to-let opportunities.

Leeds in a Snapshot


Since the 2011 census, Leeds has experienced an 8.1% population growth, a rate that notably surpasses the 3.7% increase observed in the broader Yorkshire and the Humber region during the same ten-year span.

Housing Market

Over the last decade, house prices in Leeds have risen by 55%. This upward trajectory is projected to persist, with an additional increase of 21% anticipated by 2026.


Over the past two decades, Leeds' economy has experienced remarkable growth, surging by 115% and achieving a current value of just over GBP 32 billion. Projections indicate that this upward trend will continue, with an anticipated increase of 83% over the next 15 years.

Five Reasons to Invest In Leeds’ Property Market

Boasting a GVA of £69 billion, Leeds surpasses other regional cities such as Liverpool and Birmingham in economic performance. While once primarily known for its manufacturing industry, the city has undergone a remarkable transformation through large-scale regeneration projects over the past decade. Today, Leeds is a vibrant, modern urban centre focused on fostering high-growth sectors like finance and professional services. As home to four universities hosting over 60,000 students, the city has emerged as a hub for start-ups and graduates seeking to establish their professional careers.

This steady influx of businesses, students, and professionals has consistently driven up the demand for property and rentals in Leeds. However, the city's housing market remains more affordable than those in other Northern cities and continues to outperform the national average for England.

Over the past two decades, Leeds' economy has experienced remarkable growth, surging by 115% and achieving a current value of just over GBP 32 billion. Now home to the UK's second-largest financial sector, Leeds hosts over 30 international banks with significant operations in the city, as well as 150 accountancy firms, including the 'Big Four'—PwC, Deloitte, EY, and KPMG. Ongoing successes across various industries continue to attract new businesses to Leeds. With the city's economy projected to grow by an additional 83% over the next 15 years, major firms such as the BBC and Burberry are relocating their primary business functions to the area.

This growth is being driven, in part, by HS2. Phase 2b of the HS2 project will extend the high-speed rail line to Leeds, connecting the city to Birmingham and London with unparalleled speed and efficiency. This improved connectivity is expected to foster economic growth, create new job opportunities, attract businesses and talent to the region and drive up demand for commercial and residential properties.

In anticipation of the HS2 arrival, Leeds has embarked on several regeneration initiatives, focusing on modernising its transport hub and surrounding areas. The city aims to create a world-class integrated transport hub, combining rail, bus, and other modes of transport, in order to streamline connections and enhance accessibility.

Over the past nine years, a mere 27% of Leeds' housing needs have been met, resulting in a significant undersupply of homes. Despite the city's economic prosperity contributing to an annual increase of 1,737 households since 2000, the demand for housing remains largely unfulfilled. Taking the backlog of housing units into account, an undersupply of at least 38,130 units is anticipated by 2030.

As of 2021, the population of Leeds reached 799,920, representing a 12% increase since 2000, which surpasses the UK national average of 11% growth during the same period. This expanding population places mounting pressure on the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to address the housing supply. Consequently, the heightened demand has driven house prices in Leeds to rise by 55% over the past decade. This trend is projected to persist, with an additional 21% increase in house prices expected by 2026.

Leeds' rental market is currently experiencing its busiest period on record, with unprecedented demand causing estate agents to report listings disappearing within hours of being posted online. The persistent housing undersupply has prompted more residents to opt for renting instead of buying. As the population continues to grow, the housing deficit is expected to widen further, intensifying the demand for rental properties.

In response to this heightened demand, rental prices in Leeds have risen by 6% over the past six years and are projected to increase by an additional 13% by 2026. This growth rate surpasses the national average of 12% for the same period, making Leeds an exceptionally attractive opportunity for investors seeking to enter the buy-to-let market and achieve a swift return on their investment.

Leeds' vibrant lifestyle and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from across the UK and abroad to the region's esteemed educational institutions. Ranked 55th globally, Leeds features on the QS World University Rankings' "Best Student Cities" list. As the home of the University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University, and the University of Bradford, the city has an ongoing demand for student accommodation, presenting a potential investment opportunity.

Additionally, Leeds experiences a steady influx of graduates seeking rental properties. Out of the city's large student population, 35% of graduates find employment in Leeds each year following their studies. This young and highly skilled talent pool serves as a key factor in attracting major firms to establish operations in the city.

Leeds holds the distinction of being ranked third in the UK for the fastest-growing firms outside of London, with its tech sector alone valued at £1 billion. This thriving business landscape offers compelling incentives for young professionals to make Leeds their home.

Regeneration projects in the city aim to enhance connectivity through improved transport links and provide substantial floor space for new offices, residential units, and amenities, sparking interest among potential residents. These revitalization plans emphasise eco-friendly working environments, presenting ideal opportunities for investors to develop both commercial and residential properties in the build-to-let market.

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Leeds is widely recognized as one of the top opportunities for buy-to-let investors in the UK. Boasting an average rental yield of 8%—compared to London's 3%—the city offers a dependable return on investment. With a consistently high demand for rentals and a strong graduate retention rate, property in Leeds presents a stable income source for prospective landlords. Moreover, rent prices are projected to rise over the next decade. As the city continues its current growth trajectory, both its economy and population are expected to flourish, further boosting demand for property in the rental and buyers' markets.

According to Rightmove, the average house price in Leeds last year was £257,023, with terraced properties selling for an average of £185,680 and detached properties fetching an average of £500,796. These averages are lower compared to Manchester and Birmingham, and rent prices also tend to be more affordable.

While Leeds is a more cost-effective city than London, it ranks among the more expensive cities in the North. This can be attributed in part to its growing popularity among young professionals seeking to settle in the burgeoning city. Nevertheless, Leeds continues to attract students as a prominent university city. With a cost of living significantly more affordable than in larger cities, it remains an appealing option for international students.

The most attractive investment opportunities can often be found in areas with a high density of student accommodations, as these locations tend to draw significant interest from new renters.

While specific postcodes offering the highest rental yields may vary over time due to market fluctuations and local developments, some areas in Leeds have consistently demonstrated strong rental yields. Investors should always conduct up-to-date research and consult with local property experts to identify the best investment opportunities at any given time. That being said, some postcodes in Leeds that have historically shown high rental yields include:

  1. LS6 (5.45%): This postcode covers areas like Hyde Park, Woodhouse, and Headingley, which are popular among students due to their proximity to the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University. The high student population in these areas generally results in strong rental yields.
  2. LS3 (5.25%): This area, which includes Burley and parts of Woodhouse, is also popular among students and young professionals, offering good rental yields due to its accessibility to the city centre and local universities.
  3. LS11 (6.97%): Covering areas such as Beeston and Holbeck, this postcode is witnessing increasing interest from renters and property investors due to ongoing regeneration projects, affordable property prices, and its proximity to the city centre.
  4. LS9 (7.28%): This postcode includes Harehills and parts of Burmantofts, which are popular among young professionals and families. These areas offer a good mix of affordability and proximity to the city centre, contributing to strong rental yields.

*Percentages shown come from 2022 Leeds Property Data

For further information on where to invest, our team of experts is readily available to share their knowledge and resources. You can request our investment case by filling in this form, or to book a consultation, please click here.

Yes, foreigners can purchase property for buy-to-let purposes in Leeds and the rest of the UK. There are no specific restrictions on foreign investors acquiring residential or commercial properties to rent out. However, non-resident investors should be aware of certain factors and considerations before entering the market, including obtaining a mortgage, tax, legal considerations and property management.

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Download our in-depth guide and timeline to learn more about Leed’s thriving economy, large-scale regenerative projects and flourishing housing market.

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