Bedale is booming, Ripon is set to take off and Harrogate is still the number one hotspot. Sharon Dale reports.
THERE hasn’t been a formal count but the number of “suits” catching the crack-of-dawn train from Thirsk via York to Kings Cross on Tuesdays has burgeoned in the last few years.
The 6.30am service, which arrives in London at 9.06am, is indicative of two major trends, according to The Search Partnership.
The property finding firm says those moving from London to Yorkshire are increasingly splitting their working week between the capital and their home office.
“They work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in London and the rest of the time from home. So they catch the early train on Tuesday and the late train back home on Thursday spending just two nights away. It’s very noticeable at both Thirsk and Northallerton stations and the number of people doing this is definitely rising,” says The Search Partnership co-founder Toby Milbank.
The reason for this is the increasing popularity of property in the Bedale area. A new report by The Search Partnership, which is based in North Yorkshire, reveals that Bedale was last year’s star performer in a league that includes luminaries such as Harrogate and Wetherby.
The report looked at detached properties in Harrogate, Wetherby, Boroughbridge, Ripon, Bedale, Thirsk and the surrounding villages. Most were sold for £300,000 and over. It focuses on the pounds per square foot by dividing the Land Registry sale price by the gross internal square footage of every house sold in each of the six areas in 2016.
Bedale and its villages topped the table with prices per square foot rising 17.1 per cent to £225 in 2016. The opening of the Bedale bypass, which gives quick and easy access onto the A1, is one of the main reasons for the uplift in values.
“In 2015, Harrogate and Wetherby were the top performers but Bedale has shot up. It’s the biggest increase we have ever seen in our region and that’s because of the bypass and the fact more buyers are realising that the area offers very good value. Out of the six areas we studied, it is still the cheapest place to buy. Five years ago, a lot of buyers wouldn’t have considered it but it’s a very different story now. The rail links to London are close by and the drive to Leeds is less than an hour,” says Toby, who believes that prices in the area will continue to rise this year.
Over in Harrogate, prime property rose by just 0.1 per cent per square foot to £355. The increase in Wetherby was 1.5 per cent bringing the price per sq ft to £340. In Boroughbridge prices rose by 10 per cent to £275. Thirsk saw a 0.7 per cent gain bringing it to £250 per sq ft and Ripon rose by 0.5 per cent taking values to £240 per sq ft.
While prices for prime detached properties are highest in Harrogate, it is still the hottest spot with Wetherby a close second. “Harrogate is still the favourite with buyers. It ticks a lot of boxes and the prices there reflect that,” says Toby.
Ripon, where prices per square foot are about a third cheaper than Harrogate, looks tempting for those who want more “bang for their buck”. The Search Partnership believes it is “one step away from taking off” and cites its proximity to the A1, the Booths supermarket and the Curzon cinema as key indicators of increased gentrification.
“The problem with Ripon is that there is a lot of rental property and tenants don’t tend to have as much disposable income. The fact it doesn’t have a train station also puts some buyers off but the town is changing and we feel it will take off,” says Toby.
The Search Partnership report also says that the most significant influences on the housing market in 2016 were stamp duty and the EU referendum result. The added three per cent tax on buying an “extra” home, introduced in April last year, has had an effect.
Fears over what Brexit may bring has seen homeowners adopt a “stay put and see” approach. The result, says the report, is the lowest levels of housing stock in North Yorkshire for over 30 years.
The Search Partnership predicts that North Yorkshire will see a three per cent growth in house prices this year.