The champagne and lager has not stopped flowing since Leeds United fought their way back into the Premier League. The team and their manager, Marcelo Bielsa, are the toast of the city and that promotion could mean bonuses for the players, more lucrative contracts and fresh blood.
Of course, times have changed since the glory days of the late 1990s and early noughties when Leeds were last in the Premier League. Wages aren’t quite as huge and contracts are shorter but players still need somewhere to call home.
While a good number now choose to rent due to the inherent instability of the job, Andrew Beadnall of Beadnall and Copley estate agents says that buying is the best investment. There’s also the bonus of a Stamp Duty saving now that the government has temporarily raised the tax threshold to £500,000 until March 2021.
Luxury rental properties cost from £3,000 and £7,000 per month in Leeds and surrounding hotspots and that adds up to between £36,000 and £84,000 a year. “Some players on loan may not want to buy but for others it makes better financial sense and it gives stability, which you don’t get with renting. Plus, if a player buys and has to move, they can always rent to another player.
“We had a top footballer buy a house via us in the 1990s and, when he moved, he decided to rent it and it’s still let through us now. It has been a fantastic investment for him,” says Andrew, a life-long Leeds United fan who was the go-to agent for the top flight Leeds United stars of yore.
Many sought sanctuary in the village of Linton. Rio Ferdinand, Harry Kewell and Lee Bowyer, among others, all lived there. The pretty village next to Wetherby is close to the club’s training ground at Thorp Arch and is a half hour drive to Elland Road.
“Players like living close to one another and Linton particularly appealed to those with families. Linton, Wetherby and Boston Spa are still ideal places for players to live,” says Andrew, who adds that their property shopping list includes large homes with garage blocks and contemporary decor, though not large gardens. Dressing rooms are also a must for many. “I remember one well-known player who had two rooms knocked into one and had bespoke cabinets made for his clothes and trainers. It was like walking into a Ralph Lauren store,” says Andrew.
Will Linley of Linley & Simpson estate and letting agents and Jonathan Morgan of Morgans City Living in Leeds say most players throughout the years have bought or rented properties within a 20-mile radius of its Elland Road ground.
Jonathan adds: “City centre apartments will always be favoured by the younger players, whilst the suburbs and towns a short commute away will appeal to those with families.”
Along with Wetherby and its villages, they say that Harrogate and North Leeds are magnets for players and managers alike, with many choosing to make Yorkshire their permanent home.
“Leeds United’s promotion is fantastic news for the property industry. Together with the stamp duty holiday, we now have two reasons to celebrate. It’s akin to winning the double,” says Will Linley.
Whatever they choose when home hunting, players are unlikely to emulate their much-loved manager. Mr Bielsa lives in a rented apartment above a shop in Wetherby. He is a shrewd man and maybe this strategy could pay off for those willing to sacrifice luxury for run of the mill.
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