Leicester City FC’s shock Premier League win will go down as one of the great feelgood sporting achievements in history. For a team tipped for relegation at the start of the season to have beaten 5,000-1 odds to claim the title was little short of a miracle.
But in the eight months since the city was thrust into the limelight, has Leicester’s property market managed to capitalise on the buoyant mood and international focus that comes with lifting the trophy?
Retail is one sector that appears to have recieved a boost. British Land’s Beaumont shopping centre in Anstey, on the outskirts of Leicester, recorded a 5% increase in visitor numbers year on year, outperforming both regional and UK benchmarks.
“Leicester City’s performance generated a real feelgood vibe in the region,” says Beaumont centre manager Simon Revill. “We dressed the centre in Leicester City flags and gave away flags as part of our Facebook ‘tag a flag’ competition, which more than 21,000 customers engaged with.”
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However, agents in the region say it would be difficult to attribute any property market boost to Leicester City’s win.
“While Leicester’s success on the football pitch has certainly increased awareness of the city among football supporters and the general public alike, any links to fluctuations in the property market would be very tenuous,” says Peter Monks, a director in Colliers International’s industrial and logistics team.
Whether or not it can be attributed to Leicester City’s success, the city’s commercial property market did enjoy a relatively buoyant 2016. Investment volumes reached £126m by the end of the year, above the 10-year average of £123m. Aberdeen Asset Management’s purchase of the 80 Optimus Point industrial scheme for £26m was the largest deal, while other sectors such as student housing and the PRS accounted for some £81m of investment.
As for recent city centre office activity, most if not all is home grown rather than a result of inward investment.
Leicester City Council’s former headquarters, the 1970s-era New Walk Centre, was demolished last year to make way for new offices. The site will include a £15m, 62,500 sq ft headquarters for financial firm Mattioli Woods - which will enable it to double its staff numbers from 300 to 600 - as well as 71 apartments and retail space.
Coles Nurseries, meanwhile, recently announced plans to invest £540,000 into a new 4,300 sq ft head office expected to complete in June.
Leicester’s industrial and logistics sector has also moved on. “Of late, Leicester has been well received by the logistics market, due to availability of development land and an appetite from funds and developers to invest in the area,” says
Monks, adding that proximity to the M1 and lack of existing stock in the market are further draws.
“A vast amount of funding has gone into making Leicester an industrial hub, with current land supply and occupier demand resulting in healthy rental growth for investors in the region,” he adds
So, a solid performance from the Leicester property market in 2016 - just nothing like the success enjoyed by its football club.