Deloitte crane survey finds buoyant markets in four key regional cities

Four of the UK’s key regional cities are experiencing buoyant construction activity, according to consultant Deloitte.

In crane surveys for the cities of Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Belfast, Deloitte found increased development levels across the offices, residential, hotels, retail, education and student housing sectors.

In Birmingham 1.4 million sq ft of new office space is under construction, 50% up on the previous year (969,000 sq ft).

The surge signals the highest level of activity since Deloitte first published a crane survey for the city in 2002. Birmingham also experienced a 10-fold increase in residential schemes starting construction last year, with 2,331 in the city centre alone.

Moving north, Manchester’s city centre saw a record 22 residential projects break ground last year, up eight on the previous high of 14 in 2007. This equates to nearly 7,000 units under construction.

Four of the residential towers are over 25 storeys high, including the UK’s tallest residential tower, a 49-storey SimpsonHaugh and Partners-designed tower on Owen Street for developer Renaker.

Leeds saw 20 major construction schemes complete last year, including the highest level of office space - over 700,000 sq ft - delivered to market since 2007. The city also recorded six new office starts.

Retail had a strong year in Leeds as the amount of retail space under development doubled to nearly 600,000 sq ft. However, city centre residential construction was more modest, with only three residential schemes starting last year.

In Belfast 19 schemes were under construction and 11 completed in 2016.

Simon Bedford, local government development partner at Deloitte Real Estate, said: “The results of our four crane surveys reflect the growth and resurgence in the regions, breaking records set more than a decade ago.”