Student and flats jobs shoring up regional city workloads

Aaron Morby 2 weeks ago

Residential and purpose-built student housing-led projects are supporting construction activity across the UK’s four major regional cities.

According to the Deloitte Regional Crane Surveys, flats and student room projects are helping to offset the project slowdown in the central areas of Belfast, Birmingham, Leeds, and Manchester.

Development activity remained strong in 2023 with the four cities collectively recording 63 new construction starts, although this was still down from 74 in 2022.

John Cooper, partner in real assets advisory at Deloitte, said: “Residential development is currently leading the way with 87 residential schemes recorded as under construction, 28 of which broke ground in 2023.

“While Manchester has been a trailblazer for city centre residential development in recent years, all regional cities are now following this trend.

“Belfast City Centre, for example, has seen a ten-fold increase in activity with over 950 homes now under construction in the city centre, a real step forward. Birmingham also had a very strong year recording a 36% increase in city centre residential under construction.”

Jennifer Chatfield, senior planner in the real estate team at Deloitte, added student schemes were also on the rise.

She said: “In total we recorded 8,193 purpose-built student accommodation bedspaces under construction – a 40% increase from our last survey. The growth was particularly evident in Birmingham, with a 15-fold increase in student bed spaces under construction from around 100 in 2022, to over 1,500 in 2023.

“Similarly in Manchester, three new student residential schemes started last year, representing 2,153 bed spaces – the highest number in this survey’s 24-year history.”

Meanwhile, across the four cities 3.4m sq. ft. of office floorspace was under construction last year. Manchester reported the largest share of space under construction with 2.2m sq. ft while Leeds saw the highest volume of floorspace delivered to market – hitting an all-time high with nearly 700,000 sq. ft. of office floorspace across three schemes.


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