Crocodile rocking after Sir Elton shines his light on Scarborough
Scarborough is feeling the Elton effect, but will the celebrity endorsement benefit the town’s property market? Sharon Dale reports.
WHEN one of the world’s greatest music stars stepped onto the stage at Scarborough’s outdoor theatre recently, he did more than entertain the crowds with renditions of Crocodile Rock and Candle in the Wind.
Sir Elton John gave an allsinging, all-dancing endorsement to the seaside town after choosing to play there.
“Having Elton here is a big plus. It puts us on the map and makes people think ‘well, if Elton chose to play there, it must have something going for it’, says Nick Fenwick, of Colin Ellis estate agents.
It was the star’s first time in Scarborough and he must surely have been impressed with the natural beauty, fabulous beaches and the big plans that are slowly transforming the town. If he is thinking of expanding his property portfolio, then there is a perfect house just three miles away, in Irton.
Irton Manor is Scarborough’s most expensive and exclusive home and it has been treated to a no-expense spared makeover since the owner bought it three years ago. The mini estate, with 35 acres, has four apartments, a gate house, three cottages, a log cabin and a riding school.
The Arts and Crafts-style house has six bedrooms, five bathrooms and a two-bedroom annexe, plus a new swimming pool. It costs £3.8m, though its holiday lets and stables bring in at least £75,000 year.
Ed Stoyle, of Carter Jonas, York, which is selling the property, says: “You get a lot of property for your money in this area, but people who buy at this level tend to be from outside. They come from West Yorkshire, Cheshire, the North-East and London. They like the fact Scarborough has a lovely stretch of coast and backdrop of beautiful moorland countryside.
“Irton Manor was bought at the top of the market but the owner understands that prices have fallen since and is being very realistic.”
Prices have dropped around 15 per cent since the boom and have been static for the last couple of years, says Phil Fletcher ,from Reeds Rains, Scarborough.
“In the last couple of years, we have had a steady flow of investors and people buying holiday and retirement homes. That’s what has really kept us going, especially at the lower end, because first-time buyers are thin on the ground, though I think they have finally got the message that you need a deposit to get a mortgage.”
At the bottom end of the market, you’ll find one-bedroom flats from about £60,000 and two-bedroom flats from £90,000, semis from £150,000 and detached gentlemen’s residences in the best areas from £500,000.
Flats, says Nick Fenwick, can offer particularly good value, thanks to a property anomaly.
“Around 50 per cent of flats in Scarborough are freehold rather than leasehold, which is very unusual, and banks have been nervous about giving mortgages for them since the credit crunch.
“Lenders are concerned about maintenance issues, though this is easily solved by creating maintenance agreements. That means there are some very good deals on them. A couple of banks, including Nat West, are now giving mortgages on them.”
A well-maintained onebedroom flat on the South side, just off the Esplanade, costs about £75,000, though you’re likely to share your block with a mixed bag of holiday home-owners, first-time owners, tenants and students.
The North side is home to more families as the schools are located here. Scarborough’s most desirable areas include Scalby. Weaponess and Deepdale.
For those thinking of buying in the town, now could be the right time. Estate agents feel the bottom of the market has already been reached and developers have identified Scarborough’s potential and are preparing to develop some large sites with at least one scheme having 500 plus houses.
Buyers will no doubt include locals, buy-to-let investors, plus holiday-home buyers and retirees, mostly from West Yorkshire. There’s also a slow trickle of people from Whitby, Bridlington and Filey.
“One surprising trend is that we are getting people who have retired to places like Filey, Bridlington and Whitby. They feel it’s a bit quiet for them and move over to Scarborough where there is more going on,” says Phil.
Nick agrees: “It’s well served and there are signs that the property market is picking up very gradually. There’s more activity in the mid-range properties such as threebedroom semis and detached houses. Plus, there is an optimism about the place. It’s intangible but it’s certainly here.”
STAR ATTRACTION: Scarborough has been identified by developers and superstars – Sir Elton John, above, on stage at Scarbrough’s outdoor theatre.