Keen for a move to the bright lights of a northern city? With several universities and a thriving cultural scene, Leeds could be the perfect fit.
Leeds is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city in West Yorkshire. Once a major mill town, it is now a financial, cultural and residential hotspot packed with cultural venues, including museums and art galleries.
There are more than 1,000 shops across the city centre, from high street favourites to quirky boutiques and Leeds’ universities have also encouraged a flourishing nightlife, both in the city centre and its suburbs.
Large-scale regeneration projects have transformed the cityscape, driving investor and home buyer interest and areas such as Call Lane, Briggate, Millennium Square and Park Row are go-to spots for bars, clubs and pubs.
If you want to get in on the action, this guide is here to help. You'll find average prices on all types of homes for buyers and renters, expert insight from locals, and our pick of what's currently available for first-time buyers, families, those looking to rent and even property with the biggest discounts. So, let's get started...
Firstly, where is Leeds?
Leeds lies within the county of West Yorkshire and sits on the banks of the River Aire. To the north of this landlocked county you’ll find the Yorkshire Dales National Park, while the south boarders the Peak District National Park.
How much will it cost me?
For buyers, the current average asking price is £215,101. The table, below, shows the average price paid for a property in the last 12 months, along with the number of properties sold, the current average value based on Zoopla's data and how values have risen.
What about renters?
The average current asking rent in Leeds stands at £1,224 a month. Renters will need to budget around £791 a month for a two-bedroom flat or £1,331 a month for a four-bedroom house.
Finding an estate agent
Whether you’re buying or renting you can choose the right agent with our handy agent finder tool. On Zoopla you’ll be able to pick from 123 estate agents in Leeds, along with 155 letting agents. So there's plenty of choice.
Best ways to get around Leeds
By rail: Leeds train station (New Street) was the 12th busiest in the country in 2017-2018. Trains are run by Metro which provides services throughout West Yorkshire as well as to cities such as Manchester, Liverpool and London.
Leeds train station will also be part of the new HS2 route (High Speed 2). Once finished, you'll be able to reach Birmingham in less than an hour, down from the current two-hour journey time. It’s estimated that a journey to London will also be reduced to 90 minutes, down from two hours and 20 minutes.
By car: Leeds sits at the meeting point of several A roads (A58, A61, A62, A63, A64, A65, A660), which link it to the wider West Yorkshire area.
The city is also close to several motorways: the M1 and M62 intersect to the south and the A1(M) runs to the east. To reach central Leeds, use the M621.
By air: Leeds Bradford International Airport is just a 30-minute drive from the city centre. From here, catch flights to domestic locations such as Aberdeen and Belfast or fly to Europe. Airlines include easyJet, Flybe and Ryanair.
Leeds boasts 34 schools and colleges within a five-mile radius of the city centre that are rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. There are 28 primary schools with an ‘Outstanding’ rating, while four secondary schools and two colleges for 16 to 18-year-olds make the top grade.
You can compare school and college performance on the Government website here.
Leeds' Victorian heritage includes the Grand Theatre and Opera House. Built in 1878, its programme includes performances by its resident opera and ballet companies as well as West End musicals, drama and concerts. The Tetley is one of Leeds’ newest galleries. It’s based in the former Tetley brewery and now showcases contemporary and experimental art in a series of changing exhibitions.
Kirkstall Abbey is one of Leeds’ most striking historical structures. Construction started on it in 1152 by Cistercian monks and much of the structure still stands today. Tour the site and enjoy its 24-hectare parkland, which is a favourite spot for picnics.
Leeds City Museum has six galleries that cover the history of the city as well as natural and global history. An Egyptian mummy is one of the popular exhibits.
You can also explore Temple Newsam House and Farm, the birthplace of Lord Darnley, husband to Mary, Queen of Scots. The Tudor-Jacobean house is set in landscaped grounds designed by Capability Brown and has pleasant woodland walks and bridle paths.
Where to eat, drink and make merry
Watering holes in the city include Jake’s Bar in Call Lane, which serves its own homemade liqueur, and The Liquorist on Greek Street.
Leeds is also known for brewing. Sample local ales at pubs such as the Lamb and Flag and The White Swan, or beer paired with street food and charcuterie at The Black Swan. Alternatively, Whitelock’s in Briggate is a 300-year-old pub that still boasts its original décor from 1886.
Leeds offers fine dining too. Try The Man Behind the Curtain for ultra-modern, Michelin Star cuisine. Its menu includes an 11-course tasting menu inspired by the story of The Wizard of Oz.
Briggate is the main shopping street, lined with high street staples, shopping arcades and independent stores.
Shopping centres include the White Rose Centre in Churwell, the Merrion Centre, The Core, The Light and the St John’s Centre. The Corn Exchange is also popular and full of boutiques.
For high-end shopping, such as Vivienne Westwood and Louis Vuitton, head to the Victorian Quarter.
The city’s Hyde Park Picture House is the last surviving gas-lit cinema in the UK and has kept many of its original features, including an ornate balcony and external ticket booth.
What's for sale...
... for the first-time buyer?
This flat just outside the suburb of Headingley may look a little austere from the outside, but inside it's modern and spacious. It’s been kitted out with a stylish open plan kitchen and living space, an on-trend bathroom and a new boiler. If traffic is clear you can drive to the centre of Leeds in around 10 minutes, while a selection of buses can get you there in less than 30 minutes.
Available via Preston Baker
... for the family?
How about a new-build family home in Hyde Park just north west of the city centre? It has a kitchen-dining room, living room, four double bedrooms and three bathrooms spread out over three floors. There’s a selection of ‘Good’ and ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted rated schools within easy reach and Headingley has plenty of its own amenities if you don’t fancy travelling the two miles in the heart of the city.
Available via Chartford Homes
... for renters?
If you want to be close to the action, then it doesn’t get better than this contemporary studio apartment. It’s just five minutes’ walk from Leeds train station and a wide variety of restaurants, bars and shops. The building also benefits from its own full-time concierge, modern communal reception areas and a bike store.
Available via Zenko Properties
... with the biggest discount?
It has seen better days, but with a bit of TLC, this two-bedroom flat could make a great first home or work as an investment property. The agent marketing the property notes that the first-floor home could provide a rental yield of 7.4%. Double glazing and central heating are already in place, so it’s largely cosmetic changes that are needed.
Available via Bricks Mortar
The most popular Leeds property currently for sale is...
It’s no surprise that this home in Cookridge, Leeds, has caught your attention. The five-bedroom, four-bathroom home also offers three reception rooms, countryside views and two acres of grounds. The star of the show has to be the master bedroom with its vast ensuite bathroom, dressing room, make-up room (or gym) and balcony.
Available via Hardisty Prestige
The most expensive streets to buy...
5 reasons to live in Leeds
- Bursting with culture, history, bars and restaurants
- Excellent transport links
- Top shopping
- Large-scale redevelopment
- Range of property, from modern, riverside flats to period homes
You might also be interested in...
- More UK buying guides
- The 5 things homeowners wish they’d checked before buying
- 8 ways to keep your house purchase on track
- How first-time buyers can step on to the property ladder
- Thinking about downsizing in retirement? Ask yourself these 7 questions
Have you got a taste for Leeds? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below…