The Ironworks’ sales agent Jonathan Morgan, city centre specialist at Linley & Simpson with Morgans, is an expert when it comes to city living in Leeds, with more than twenty-five years’ experience in the business and a city-centre resident himself. We spoke to him about the many upsides of city centre living, even in the midst of a global pandemic, as well as what makes The Ironworks different from other developments in Leeds.
What makes The Ironworks stand out from other city centre developments?
The key difference is the genuine aspiration of the developer, PfP igloo, to focus on design and build quality, sustainability and community. An enormous amount of time has gone into planning the layout of each home and no stone has been left unturned. Every detail has been carefully considered, from the layout right down to the fixtures and fittings. The level of detail in the design just isn’t something we’ve seen in the Leeds market before. The use of Cor-ten steel on the exterior of the building is a welcome departure from the rain screen cladding which has dominated over the last two decades. The fact that every home has its own outdoor space will be of huge benefit to resident’s wellbeing; if we’ve learned anything from the last year it’s that fresh air and outside space is vital to our health. Add all this together and you have a genuinely high-quality scheme of which there are very few in the city centre.
What are the continued benefits of city living that keep the city centre market buoyant?
I think a huge part of what makes the city centre so popular is that you can live a much simpler life. There’s no reliance on car travel, commuting becomes a thing of the past, and you can hop on a train within a few minutes’ walk from your home and have the whole country at your feet. It’s good for your health, for the planet and for wellbeing. This degree of accessibility gives you extraordinary freedom.
Has Covid changed the way buyers feel about city centre living?
The city centre market has stayed really buoyant throughout the pandemic. I think that even though there have been some benefits to living in the suburbs during this most challenging of times, these are short term factors that will fade as things start to go back to normal. People are increasingly recognising that there is much to be said for the ’15-minute city’ where your home, workplace and amenities are all within 15 minutes’ walk.
What makes living in Leeds city centre specifically so appealing?
Leeds is unbeatable in terms of walkability and it’s a very comfortable geographic space. Manchester, for example, feels very much like ‘many villages within a city’, whereas Leeds is much easier to get around. It’s also relatively low rise for such a big city, which is appealing. Leeds has a strong identity and particularly in the last fifteen or so years, there’s been a real wave of independent culture which is growing rapidly. Yorkshire people are entrepreneurial by nature and it makes Leeds a really exciting place to live and work.
How do you expect the property market to change in 2021 as we move out of the pandemic?
Knowing how robust the market has been over the last 2 decades, I have faith that the people of Leeds will start to go about their business as soon as they are able to do so safely. We’re already seeing a lot more diversity in the type of buyers looking to move to the city centre and as the cladding challenges gradually recede and build to rent schemes start to complete, there will be even greater choice.
Are buyers shifting towards more sustainable homes?
It definitely feels that way. It’s a slow journey though, much slower than in the Scandinavian countries, for example, who are leading the change in terms of sustainable living. I think the ban on gas boilers in new homes by 2025 will see a huge surge in sustainable living and it follows that in due course, there will be a price premium for truly sustainable homes with low running costs.