Homes in Yorkshire’s smallest city are in a class of their own
Buyers are singing the praises of the cathedral city of Ripon, which is becoming a magnet for families and downsizers. Sharon Dale reports.
THERE are always winners and losers in a recession and the independent school sector is certainly one that is struggling.
But their loss could be a property seller’s gain.
Parents now unable to pay for a private education for their children are hunting for free, state funded alternatives and top of their hit list are the county’s grammar schools.
The best chance of securing a place for a child who is able to pass the entrance exam is to live in the catchment area, which is one of the main reasons why families are flocking to Ripon.
Its grammar school is one of the best in Britain with a 97.7 per cent pass rate in GCSE at A-C last year. Although it caters mainly for day pupils, it is also Yorkshire’s only state run boarding school offering paid for accommodation for up to 70 pupils and it has a sixth form with a 99.4 per cent (A-E) pass rate at A’level.
“The buyers we’re getting at the moment are mainly families and there’s no doubt it’s because of the grammar school. We also have some excellent primary schools,” says Stefan Collier, manager at Beadnall and Copley’s Ripon branch, who adds:
“The other area where we are seeing activity is with downsizers who are buying bungalows.”
Bungalows are becoming a rare property type and the pressure on developers to maximise space means they are rarely built these days, but they are plenty of them in the cathedral city, whose south side has a raft of such homes built in the 1960s and 70s.
Ripon also boasts many historic properties everything from medieval with a large proportion of Georgian and Victorian and the most sought-after are in the quiet areas around the stunning cathedral.
This beautiful building surrounded by quaint historic streets is another major attraction for buyers, who are also lured by the city’s proximity to the A1, which links to the A19 and M1. This main artery attracts those who work in Teeside and Leeds.
A car is essential for those who travel long distances to work as there is no train station in Ripon.
It does, however, offer good value for money. Houses here are between 10 to 15 per cent cheaper than nearby Harrogate and there are some bargains around at the moment.
The cheapest property on the market just now is a twobedroom apartment at Mill House, Duck Hill. It is £79,950 with Beadnall Copley and is in need of modernisation. Over on Princess Road, Beadnall’s have a three-bedroom period town house in need of renovation for cash offers of just £85,000.
In general, a two-bedroom terraced house costs from £120,000 and three bedroom semis start from £180,000.
The most expensive home for sale is Lupat Grange on prestigious Palace Road, which is with Carter Jonas for £995,000.
The detached farmhouse has six bedrooms and a leisure wing with training pool, sauna, jacuzzi and changing facilities. It comes with outbuildings and garaging plus gardens and five acres of land.
Julie Savage, of Sherringtons estate agency, says that properties in the £250,000 to £350,000 price bracket are selling best.
“It’s a challenging market for everyone at the moment but since June most agents have seen an increase in activity and if properties are priced sensibly and vendors are open to offers, they are achieving about 95 per cent of the asking price,” she says.
“Buyers include people upsizing within Ripon and we also have buyers from outside, who like the fact it is a cathedral city with easy access to the A1.”
Amenities include three supermarkets: Booths, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s, a leisure centre with pool, golf course, the Spa Gardens and baths, the race course, walks along the River Ure and immediate access to glorious countryside.
Shopping is pleasant, though it can’t compare in range and quality to Harrogate and buyers do compare the two places.
“Ripon has some good shops and it is gradually improving in that way but there’s no doubt that Harrogate has great shops. But where you choose to do your shopping and where you choose to live are two different things,” says Julie,
“What Ripon has is a smaller community feel that Harrogate lacks and a lot of people will choose to live here for the quality of life. We certainly aren’t a poor relation.”
Neither does it have a north south divide like the rival spa town.
“Ripon is a hotch potch in the best possible way,” says Julie.”There are no bad areas just a mix, though homes within a few seconds of the grammar school are more sought-after.”
ANCIENT CHARMS: Pretty Ripon is a magnet for families.