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Deloitte crane surveys show buoyant regional cities

30 Jan 18 UK regional cities are displaying record levels of construction activity as developers remain hungry for city centre residential development.

The latest reports in the Deloitte Real Estate Crane Survey UK series monitor construction activity in Belfast, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester. Each city has seen a sustained or increased level of development across a range of sectors including offices, residential, hotels, retail, education and student housing.

Simon Bedford, partner and regional head at Deloitte Real Estate, said: “Residential development stands out this year. 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.”

The Birmingham Crane Survey identified 24 new construction starts breaking ground in 2017. The city’s residential development has accelerated with 13 schemes starting construction, up 30% on the previous year, delivering 2,500 new units in 2018 alone. Student housing schemes are also up (53%) and set to deliver at total of 1,782 bed-spaces. Birmingham’s office development has passed one million square feet for the second consecutive year, with over 1.4 million sq ft currently under construction.

Manchester’s city centre saw 20 new residential schemes start construction in 2017, topping 2008’s boom levels for the second year running. Across the 41 housing schemes, 11,135 units will be delivered to market. Six of the residential schemes are in high-rise tower blocks of more than 25 storeys.

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The report also notes five new office developments in Manchester, bringing the total office space currently under construction to 1.5 million sq ft.

In Leeds the number of residential units under construction across the city centre is at its highest in a decade, with 1,586 units across five development sites. Leeds has also witnessed further growth in the higher education sector with four new starts recorded adding over half a million sq ft into the development pipeline. Leeds continues to deliver good volumes of new office space with three new construction starts in 2017.

The Belfast Crane Survey, now in its second year, has recorded nine new schemes and a total of 25 schemes under construction. Residential development, albeit lower in volume than other cities, has started to come forward. However, it is hotels that dominate Belfast’s figures with more than 1,000 new hotel rooms currently being built and all due to complete this year, the highest number of any of the cities in the survey.

Simon Bedford concluded: “The results of our crane surveys reflect the growth and resurgence in the regions, surpassing last year’s record breaking figures. Sentiment towards city centre development is buoyant across all sectors, but it is perhaps the residential private rented sector that is the stand out for 2017. The unparalleled scale and volume of development is backed by significant investor confidence, strong business communities and an influx of new talent. The demand for property, particularly in the residential market, has never been more evident.”

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