Northern cities enjoy residential construction boom in 2017, survey shows

Manchester and Leeds are two northern cities that benefited from a bumper year for construction in 2017, with the former enjoying a 60% boost in residential projects and 75% hike in office projects.

According to the annual Deloitte Real Estate Crane Survey, data shows that more than 11,000 residential units are currently being developed in Manchester and the statistics shows it is the third year of sustained growth in the city. Analysts have dubbed Manchester as “one of Europe’s fastest growing cities”.

Its Yorkshire counterpart also showed a resurgence in residential development last year following almost ten years of stagnation. The survey found that the number of residential units under construction across the city centre is at its highest since 2008. The year saw 16 new schemes start with a total of 1,586 units, across five development sites. 

The Deloitte Real Estate Crane Survey UK looked at construction levels across Birmingham and Belfast too. Analysts say a total of 17,000 residential units were now being built across the four cities. Deloitte’s survey looked at a range of sectors including offices, hotels, retail, education and student housing, but residential development was the specific category which showed a hike in construction. 

Commenting on the survey, Simon Bedford, partner and regional head at Deloitte Real Estate, said: “The surveyed cities have shown a marked increase in housing development, in some cases doubling activity from the previous year. Our UK crane survey data shows a collective total of nearly 17,000 residential units currently under construction in these cities, ensuring housing targets are being taken seriously and developers are striving to meet demand.

"Manchester has firmly established itself as one of Europe’s fastest growing cities. Backed by significant investor confidence, a strong business community, and an influx of new talent, the demand for property, particularly in the residential market, has never been more evident. Leeds saw a 67% increase in new schemes starting development from the previous year and similarly Belfast’s office construction is up a quarter on 2016.”

Dublin was also included in the analysis for the first time with Ireland’s capital measured to have more than four million square feet of office space under construction, as well as 3,528 residential units. The encouraging performance in the four cities provides a stark comparison to London, which Deloitte said late last year was suffering from a decline as Brexit uncertainties and higher construction costs held back office developments.

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