Town that’s a picture of prosperity
Its upmarket shops, transport links and attractive homes have helped propel Harrogate to the top of the property parade. Sharon Dale reports.
EVERY picture tells a story but the burgeoning number of modern art galleries is helping to rewrite the book on Harrogate.
Artist Dan Syrett, who helped his partner Jane Bruce launch the Workhouse Gallery earlier this month, says: “Over the past couple of years we’ve had six new private galleries opening and just recently there have been three new restaurants, which is remarkable in a recession.
“There is proper money here and the people who have it are happy to invest in art rather than leaving it sitting in the bank. The number of contemporary galleries also reflects the changing profile of the town.”
The spa town’s reputation as a blue rinse sort of place is being put to rest by a younger, cashrich contingent that has made it into Yorkshire’s premier property hotspot, beating close and illustrious rivals York, Ilkley and Wetherby.
While people are still keen to retire to Harrogate, it is now being targeted by families thanks to its schools, shops, facilities and transport links. The most popular homes are family-sized and cost between £300,000 and £400,000, says Gemma Myring, of Myrings estate agents.
The starting price for property is around £85,000 for a onebedroom flat and £120,000 for a two-bedroom terraced house. The most expensive home on sale at the moment is Beech Lodge, on the Esplanade, which is £2.1m with Knight Frank.
Desirable areas include The Duchy, The Saints, the Leeds Road area and anywhere in the catchment for Harrogate Grammar school, a successful comprehensive.
“Up-and-coming areas include
Beadnall Copley, tel: 01423 503500, www.beadnalcopley.
Myrings, tel: 01423 566400, www.myringsestateagents.com Kings Road, which offers great family houses and good value and Cold Bath Road, which has also been rejuvenated over the last few years,” says Gemma. Julian Rich, of Harrogatebased Garrington Homefinders, says many of his clients are downsizers moving into Harrogate from the country. They are keen on apartments that they can lock up and leave.
Andrew Beadnall, of Beadnall Copley estate agents, agrees that this is a strong trend and adds that the town attracts buyers from far and wide.
The exclusive Fulwith Mill Lane development by Zammitt, which gives buyers a chance to have a luxury home built to their own specification, has brought interest from all over the country. Prices start at £1.65m.
Knight Frank, tel: 01423 530088, www.knightfrank.co.uk
We have had enquiries from all over the UK and this week alone we’ve had people coming from Essex and Cheshire,” says Andrew.
“Harrogate has tremendous pull throughout Yorkshire and beyond. Many people choose to live there due to its excellent schools, its luxury shopping and fabulous restaurants. In addition, it is a short drive from some of the most beautiful countryside and there is great access into Leeds and the motorway network. It also has a railway station on the London line and Leeds/Bradford airport is approximately 20 minutes drive away. There is an incredible quality of life in the town and at the moment Harrogate really is flavour of the month.”
As proof, he cites a semi on The Saints that sold for more than the asking price within seven days.
Although prices fell at the end of 2008 and through 2009, they have only lost around 10 per cent of their value, compared to 20 per cent in other less desirable areas of the county. “Prices have not increased but they have stopped falling and over the past four years, despite the ups and downs, we still haven’t sold anything where you could say ‘they gave it away’,” says Andrew.
The only problem with living in Harrogate is the possibility of being “institutionalised”.
“We’ve got everything now, including great shops,” says Gemma Myring. “There was a time you might go shopping elsewhere but now there’s no need. In fact it’s easy to get stick in a bubble here and you have to remind yourself that there’s a big wide world out there.”