Building activity outside London hits record levels

Building activity outside London hits record levels

Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Belfast show increases across the board

Construction outside London has reached record levels, with Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Belfast all recording an increase in activity last year.

The Deloitte Real Estate Crane Survey showed that office space, residential projects and student accommodation all experienced growth in these major regional cities.

The 1.4 million square feet of office space under construction in Birmingham represents a 50 per cent increase on the previous year and a record figure in terms of activity since the report was first published in 2002.It also witnessed growth in terms of residential schemes underway – the 2,331 units in the city centre equating to a ten-fold increase.

Manchester was particularly strong in terms of residential projects, with 22 breaking ground last year, smashing the previous record of 14. This will give the city almost 7,000 new units – including those in the UK’s tallest residential tower – as its skyline continues to evolve.

“The results of our four crane surveys reflect the growth and resurgence in the regions, breaking records set more than a decade ago. Sentiment towards city centre development is buoyant with residential rising to new levels, quite literally in Manchester, with the addition of towers that will alter the city skyline, Simon Bedford, Local Government Development Partner at Deloitte Real Estate, said.

“All sectors are active and we conclude that our regional cities are delivering growth and investment at levels not witnessed for many years.”

Residential projects in Leeds remained fairly modest, with just three new schemes last year. However, it was strong in terms of office space as 700,000 square feet was delivered to the market – the highest total since 2007. It also received a boost in terms of retail space as 600,000 square feet was brought forward in 2016.

Furthermore, the 385 scheduled hotel rooms represents the biggest growth in that sector for the city in the past decade.

Manchester experienced a similar situation, with 1,040 rooms under construction – the largest development in ten years. Mr Bedford explained how the volume of development across the UK prompted Deloitte Real Estate to monitor Belfast as well.

It found that there was a healthy 19 residential schemes under construction, while 11 projects were completed in 2016.

In addition, there was encouragement from the student accommodation sector, with 2,500 bed-spaces set for creation across Belfast city centre.

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