The Shifting Sands Of The Headingley Housing Market

In modern years Headingley has been known as a student town. With campuses at the north end at Beckett Park, and the University Of Leeds at the south end in Hyde Park, and Leeds Metropolitan University at the north of the city centre, Headingley has provided a good base for students of both universities. Of particular attraction is it’s thriving town centre, with it’s many bars, restaurants, and shops making or a lively, convenient, and fun environment for young people.

Large terraced properties of 5-10 bedrooms categorise many of the streets and Landlords have attracted groups of students to fill them. But things have gradually changed over the past 10 years. Many purpose-built apartment blocks aimed at students have appeared in and around the city centre. These are often pod style flats with a number of rooms in each flat having en suite bathrooms and shared kitchens. Bills and wifi are included for added convenience. Continued re-generation of the city centre has added to its appeal with new shopping centres, restaurants, shops, and bars springing up faster than you can even notice.

This trend for purpose built student accommodation is not limited to Leeds. In fact every major city in the UK has seen many of these developments, which are often known as ‘Build To Rent schemes’, over the same time frame.

All of this has helped create a shift in demographic as the students turn to the city centre for their accommodation which is often now favoured over sharing with large groups of housemates in a traditional terraced houses, where there is less to entertain them on their doorsteps.

Landlords have had to work harder to draw in the groups. In this competitive environment, only the best presented houses can expect to secure a tenancy for the next academic year with confidence. Landlords have had to spend significantly on refurbishments to mitigate the chances of long void periods, or the possibility of renting their rooms out individually after terms starts in September.  Many Landlords have been left behind wondering why their agents can’t rent out their houses in Headingley any more. This has particularly been a problem for the larger houses as students now seem to prefer to live in smaller groups.

So what does that mean for Headingley? One would think Landlords would be selling and with more of these properties hitting the market, and with less demand from tenants there would be a noticeable drop in the value of these houses. Is Headingley destined to become a family town once more? That’s a nice thought. But do families really need 8-10 bedrooms houses nowadays? These houses can be re-configured to large 4 or 5 bedroom family homes of course, provided the new  owners don’t mind the cost and aggravation involved in re-purposing them.

Let’s take a look at what is happening to property values in Headingley then. During the past 5 years there has actually been an increase of 25% (+5% pa average) or £54,945. The average price being paid for all properties being £208,825 (from 1049 sales) and the current average now being £277,206. These results show surprising resilience given the conditions described above.

During the last 12 months things have flatten off somewhat with the average price increasing by just 0.2% from just 149 sales. We can see clear signs that the Headingley market is slowing down. But interestingly Landlords don’t appear to be selling in any great volumes which is keeping prices stable and relatively high.

Conclusion

It seems that the difficulties faced in Headingley are only really being felt by Landlords with large HMO’s of say 6-10 bedrooms, in locations which are farther from the universities and local amenities. We have seen that many Headingley Landlords have had to turn their student houses into professional houses shares which are now let room by room. Headingley is still a great place to buy that offers strong yields for Landlords, but we advise if buying to let in Headingley, then to opt for a smaller property to ensure high levels of tenant demand.