Press releases

Leeds breaks multiple construction records in 2018 as the city builds for the future

5 February 2019

  • Record-breaking levels of construction in the city since the Crane Survey began
  • 21 new construction starts, the highest level since 2007
  • 15 completed developments brought to market in 2018

Leeds experienced unprecedented levels of construction in 2018, with new highs achieved in the Health and Education and Purpose-Built Student Accommodation sectors (PBSA).

The survey records 21 new construction starts on site, which was only bettered in 2007 when 31 new schemes were announced. The number of residential units under construction across the city centre is also at the highest level since 2007.

The findings were announced as part of the annual Leeds Crane Survey, published today by Deloitte Real Estate. Now in its twelfth year, the report is the definitive guide to investment, development and construction in Leeds and is seen as an economic barometer for developer sentiment.

Across the record-breaking sectors, Health and Education saw 743,000 sq ft of floorspace under construction, with new facilities being brought forward by Leeds Beckett University, Leeds College of Building, Leeds College of Art and the new Leeds City College Campus at Quarry Hill. There were two new starts in the education sector and one in healthcare across the year.

The student accommodation sector has also recorded record levels of development activity with four new starts, the highest since the Leeds Crane Survey began. These contributed towards the 2,768 student accommodation bedspaces currently under construction, four times the annual average since 2007.

At 804,257 sq ft, the office sector has the second largest quantum of office floorspace under construction in the history of the Leeds Crane Survey, bettered only by the 820,247 sq ft recorded in 2015. This was coupled with seven new starts on site.

Residential development, which showed a significant resurgence in the 2017 survey, also continued an upward trajectory in 2018. Three new starts, set to deliver 533 units into the pipeline, bring the total to 2,232 units under construction. This demonstrates a continued confidence in the city centre residential market. Five of the developments under construction are ‘Build-to-Rent’, which will be the city’s first purpose built Build-to- Rent units.

Nolan Tucker, director at Deloitte Real Estate in Leeds, said: “The results of the 2019 Crane Survey are outstanding for Leeds and paint a clear picture of a future-focused city gearing up for the next phase in its development.

“The investment in Health and Education facilities, combined with new office accommodation that can meet the needs of a wider range of occupiers, and the emergence of the city centre Build-to-Rent market is establishing the perfect environment to support significant economic growth.”

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said: "It's an exciting time for the Leeds City Region. Wakefield has won £4.4 million from the Cultural Development Fund, Bradford is about to host the cutting-edge Yorkshire Games Festival, Nexus the £40 million research and innovation hub at the University of Leeds is under construction whilst GAMA Healthcare is opening a £4 million tech lab in Halifax.

“There is a collective momentum and commitment to partnership at work. I’m delighted to see this confidence reflected in the 2019 Crane Survey. Demand is strong with significant investments to be announced in the near future."

Nolan Tucker continued, “Leeds has established itself as a hub for technology and the recent decision by Channel 4 to base its new HQ in the city is a demonstration of the confidence that it can support digital and creative industries. This has been further reinforced by the number of businesses that have announced relocations to the city since then, helping to generate a young and vibrant city centre market.

“Combine this with continuing improvements to infrastructure and connectivity, including the redevelopment of Leeds railway station, HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, and the planned expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport, and the city has a compelling story to tell nationally and internationally.”


Note to editors

About the Deloitte Real Estate Crane Surveys
A crane survey is the definitive review of construction in a city region and is seen as a barometer of developer sentiment and future supply. Published 5 February 2019 are:

  • Belfast (first published 2017); 
  • Birmingham (first published 2002); 
  • Dublin (first published 2018); 
  • Leeds (first published 2006); and 
  • Manchester (first published 1999). 

Each report measures the volume of development taking place across that city centre and its impact. Property types include office, retail, leisure, residential, student accommodation, education and hotels. The reports include insight from developers building new schemes or undertaking significant refurbishment of the following: (Size minimum)

  • Office -10,000 sq ft 
  • Retail – 10,000 sq ft 
  • Residential – 25 units
  • Education, leisure and hotel schemes – significant scheme for inclusion.

This report is compiled by Deloitte’s in-house real estate teams who have monitored construction across the city. Deloitte’s field research is then verified with direct industry links and in-house property experts. The data capture period for the Leeds crane survey covers the 12 months of 2018.

About Deloitte
In this press release references to “Deloitte” are references to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”) a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity.

Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

Deloitte LLP is a subsidiary of Deloitte NWE LLP, which is a member firm of DTTL, and is among the UK's leading professional services firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

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Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited

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