Never mind the temperamental weather, Yorkshire is sizzling. The county has recorded a staggering 22.5% increase in annual house prices, according to the latest research by property website rightmove.co.uk and, despite a slight dip between April and May, remains one of England’s hottest spots.
However, Yorkshire spans such a large area that it has more than one market trend.
“In the Golden Triangle within Wetherby, Ilkley and Harrogate prices are probably as high as they could be,” says Stewart Bates of agent Charnock Bates.
And properties close to York have been expensive for a while.
Although these areas call for deep pockets, they are popular with private equestrian buyers because they are appealing residential areas within easy commuting distance of major town centres.
It takes some 40min to reach Leeds from Langbar, a village close to Ilkley, in the westernmost corner of the Golden Triangle, where Simon Thornton Estate Agents is selling Black Hill Farm, a fully modernised farmhouse with 12 acres of land.
Adjoining the four-bedroom house is a block of garages and workshops that ends in the stables, where five loose boxes are situated. There is also a large two-bedroom apartment, which could easily be turned into an office for anyone working from home. The asking price is £795,000.
A similar property would cost significantly less in West Yorkshire, which still has plenty of scope for price growth.
“Something with two to five acres, an outside school and a nice house could cost £800,000 in the Golden Triangle but you would pay just £450,000 to £500,000 for the same sort of set-up further west,” says Simon Thornton.
The area around Halifax and Huddersfield is enjoying an unprecedented property boom, mainly driven by good transport links and proximity to Leeds and Manchester.
“To the outsider, we may appear remote but we’re really close to everything,” says Stewart Bates. “A place like Halifax has two major cities within easy reach and three international airports within 45min. And, with Wakefield railway station also close by, you could be in London in two hours.
“We have many applicants who are relocating from London and the south because they can sell a place there for £800,000 and buy an equivalent one here for half that. In terms of value for money and potential for capital growth, you couldn’t do better than look at this area.”
Bates is marketing Holly Tree Farm, a barn conversion near Halifax, for £595,000.
Currently run as a livery yard, the property is situated in 13 acres of grazing land some 10min from the town centre. The main residence is a pretty four-bedroom house surrounded by gardens. There are 12 loose boxes arranged across three stable blocks, next to a tack room and a barn, with further outbuildings offering storage. A rear yard gives access to the land and a 40x30m manège.
Amateur riders account for the lion’s share of the demand in this area. Serious competitors and business buyers, although attracted by West Yorkshire’s excellent communication network, may have a harder time finding the right property because houses in the area traditionally come with limited acreage. Landed properties that do become available have prices to match.
“The starting point for an equestrian business with 15-20 loose boxes and 20 acres would be around the £500,000 mark, but you wouldn’t get a super house in a super location,” warns Thornton. “Buyers looking for a major equestrian centre should be prepared to pay between £1m and £2m.”