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Starts rise fourfold rise in regional cities

The number of new schemes starting construction in five major British cities has risen by 80 per cent over the last year, a new survey has found.

Deloitte Real Estate’s UK Crane Survey found 45 new projects started in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester in 2013.

Most new schemes were in office, residential and student housing.

This year saw highest number of office starts in the five cities since 2008 with 11 schemes getting off the ground. But the amount of floorspace under construction remained at similarly low levels to those recorded in 2012 at 837,000 sq ft.

Retail construction was weak following the completion of the Trinity Leeds and Buchanan Quarter in Glasgow and Deloitte expects it to remain depressed.

The number of residential units being built in the five cities grew twofold during the year.

But the 1,400 units being built in three of the cities – two had no sites under construction – was well behind the peak of 10,000 in 2007 before the property crash, which left some developers with a glut of unsold city centre flats.

Purpose-built student accommodation more than quadrupled in the year, with nine new starts across the five cities.

Deloitte expected more of these developments in future as universities try to attract more students from outside the European Union who pay higher fees than home students.

Birmingham saw a high volume of construction over the year, with 13 schemes completing, but its pipeline hit a 10-year low, with only five schemes on site.

The year saw eight starts and the same number of completions in Leeds. There were 19 starts in Manchester – up from six last year and nine completions.

Edinburgh recorded nine new starts, having had none in 2012 and four completions. Glasgow also had no starts last year but four this year, which were mostly offices.

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