New goal at heart of the golden triangle
It’s no longer a soccer star hot spot, but the market town of Wetherby is still in the property premier league. Sharon Dale reports.
PREMIERSHIP footballers are often sneered at for having more money than sense, but the players who colonised Wetherby in the nineties and early noughties were certainly well advised.
They scored that property hat trick: location, location, location when they bought in the heart of Yorkshire’s golden triangle.
The mega-rich footballers disappeared as Leeds United’s fortunes dipped, but Wetherby and its satellite villages remain popular, though prices at the top end aren’t quite as stratospheric.
“Some of the old school were a bit sniffy about these young multi-millionaires invading the area, but I used to tell them: ‘go down on bended knees and thank God for Leeds United. They’ve increased the value of your property by 20 per cent’,” says Andrew Beadnall, of Beadnall Copley, who sold homes to and for a host of soccer stars.
“It was an incredible time. You’d call up the club and say: ‘We’ve got a great new house on the market’ and then the latest signing would buy it for more than the asking price.
“That situation has changed. Now so many of the players are on loan and so many of them rent instead of buy. The excitement of seeing all those flash cars and top footballers has gone, but they helped increase the aspiration. People aspire to live in Linton and other desirable villages around Wetherby. That’s where the glamour is.”
The popularity of the area lies in its proximity to the main commercial centres of York and Leeds and to beautiful countryside. Another big attraction is the A1, which is on Wetherby’s doorstep.
“The A1/M1 link road has also made a big difference. I’m a Leeds United supporter and it used to take me an hour and a half to get over to Elland Road. Now thanks to the link road it takes me under half an hour to get to a match,” says Andrew.
“Wetherby was popular before that link, but now it’s ridiculously popular. It’s opened out the market. I’ve just sold a property to a woman who works in South Leeds. She has a lovely threebedroom detached house here and can be in her office in 20 minutes. You can also be in Manchester within an hour.”
It’s not just the transport links. The market town has aesthetic appeal, with the River Wharfe meandering through the middle and period buildings reflecting its long history. Developers spotted its potential long ago, which is why most of the homes in the town are not old and are on housing estates, where you can buy town houses from £150,000, three-bedroom semis for about £200,000 and a four-bedroom detached for £250,000.
Getting on the property ladder here is a struggle for first-time buyers.
At the moment the cheapest home in town is a two-bedroom flat on Barleyfields Road for £84,995. It is in need of modernisation and is for sale through Your Move Barrett Hynes. Those who want a house will find a “priced to sell” twobedroom end-terrace on Ceres Road for £124,950 with Hunters.
Those house hunting in the area will find good amenities. Families are attracted by Wetherby High School, where 64 per cent of pupils achieved 5 or more GCSE’s at A* to C including English and Maths.
There is a range of local and high street shops, a Morrisons supermarket, restaurants, leisure centre, golf course and the well-known racecourse. Sainsbury’s is also planning to build a store, though there is local opposition.
These kind of facilities have made it popular with downsizers. They move out of large homes in the villages to apartments in the town and the best riverside flats command a large premium, with a three-bed costing £475,000.
Like everywhere, prices have fallen since the height of the market in 2007 but there are few bricks and mortar bargains.
“I haven’t sold anything I would say was a steal and we still achieve big ticket prices. In the last couple of months we have sold a property for £1.725m and another for £1.435m.
“In Boston Spa, we had a four bedroom house in for £435,000 and sold it for £430,000. In Collingham house a house priced at £350,00 went for 348,000,” says Andrew.
“No-one has to give their house away here.”