Transport improvements are at the heart of government plans for a stronger economy in the region.
Improved rail service to a number of cities such as Bradford and Hull as well asmore capacity into Sheffield and Leeds will come through new trains and increased scheduling.
These are key decisions for the property industry with a total of £1.2 billion committed to rail improvements.
Sir Richard Leese of the Association of Rail North Partner Authorities said: “This is another crucial move towards devolution for the North Rail”.
Air transport links are also to being expanded. Air minister Robert Goodwill said: “Carlisle, Newcastle and Bradford Leeds airports are vital engines to the northern economy, connecting the UK and creating opportunities”.
JLL’s Jeff Pearey said: “While the omission of investment in high speed connections across the north is disappointing, the increase in transport in capital spending is welcome. Increasing the capital that Transport for the North has for devolution Infrastructure is a vital part of the economic prosperity also a further step in the right direction”.
It comes at a time when the region is enjoying a strong economy and property market, as indicated by the construction figures. In the last quarter of 2015 £2.3 billion of commercial construction and refurbishment started across Yorkshire, a 123% increase on the same period of 2014.
Tony Stott of JLL said: “Beyond London and the south east, Yorkshire is seeing significant activity which is in line with our predictions”.
A further positive indicator is that take up of offices in Leeds city centre last year was the second highest on record, said the Leeds Agents Forum with a total of 63,206 sq.metres (680,100 sq.ft.), an increase of 25% on 2014.
The final quarter of the year saw a record take up, well up on the previous three months.
Robin Beagley of WSB for the agents said: “Activity has exceeded expectations and was particularly strong in the final quarter. Looking ahead with new offices at Wellington Place, Sovereign Square and Queen Street coming on stream in 2016, the outlook looks extremely positive”.
The out-of-town market has also improved with 245,911 take up last year. Nick Salkeld of Fox Lloyd Jones said: “We have seen a resurgence of the market and a new headline rent, this will strengthen the new developments planned for Thorpe Park, WROP and Kirkstall Forge”.
There has been a steady increase in the industry’s investment in the regions, reaching £44.4 billion in the past decade commercial property and in the case of Leeds it ranks third in the retailing sector.
The total for Leeds was £3.7 billion for the period, said CBRE.
In total the regions account for almost 60% of the commercial property transactions outside London and the south east. CBRE attributes this to successful civic leadership, talent in growing sector and infrastructure. The leader in attracting investment is Manchester, followed by Birmingham.