Dreams of home by the sea keep Whitby’s property market afloat
A publicity storm over a land slip shouldn’t affect Whitby’s ability to weather the property recession. Sharon Dale reports.
DRAMATIC scenes of a land slip in Whitby that took gardens and verandas with it have dominated the news agenda.
Meanwhile, residents on Aelfleda Terrace, which sits above Church Street on the town’s east side, are still coming to terms with Scarborough Borough Council’s decision to demolish five of their houses “as a precautionary measure”.
The effects of this edict and the publicity storm surrounding it are being widely felt and there are concerns that the value and saleability of other cliff side properties may be blighted by erroneous fears.
Tim Richardson, of Astin’s Estate Agents, says: “Over the last week, since the front yards and built-out verandas beyond the front access path fell away after very heavy rainfall, the houses themselves remain standing, as they have for the last 150 years or so, with no obvious structural damage.
“Some of the debris from the yards has caused damage to the rear wall of a house below but, generally speaking, this appears to be an isolated occurrence. As far as we are aware there has been no suggestion that the stability and security of any other properties on the east side, many of which have stood solidly for over 400 years, have been adversely affected by what appears to be a localised problem, so we remain hopeful that the value and saleability of other dwellings in this highly regarded area will be maintained.
“No doubt we will learn more once the demolition is complete and the actual problem identified and resolved. We can only sympathise, of course, with the individual house owners who will be devastated by the loss of their homes.”
Although worrying, the slippage of boulder clay is not uncommon and homes built on bedrock and firm foundations have always remained in tact, which is good news for those who dream of buying into Yorkshire’s trendiest coastal town.
Interest in property here is still defiantly high despite the recession and prices have remained stable. That’s because many buyers are cash rich and are not reliant on mortgage funding.
“We have investors buying holiday property to let, second home buyers, those buying with a view to retirement and we are seeing more people who are able to work from home moving here for the quality of life. We even have people who work in London five days a week and come home to Whitby at weekends,” says Tim.
“We don’t have the big ups and downs that many other areas have. When the rest of the market falls, we just plateau.”
Many buyers come from West and South Yorkshire though a growing contingent are from further afield.
Whitby Holiday Cottages has seen an increase in clients from London, Manchester and the Midlands and some of that traffic has translated into property sales. When potash mines open on Fylingdales Moor, between Whitby and Scarborough, in about five years time, creating around over 1,000 jobs, demand for homes will be boosted further.
House hunters will find that prices are among then highest on the Yorkshire coast, reflecting the town’s desirability. One bedroom flats start from £70,000. A two bedroom terrace starts from £120,000 and cottages from £135,000. Family-sized homes are from £150,000. The most expensive home on sale at the moment is a six bedroom Georgian end terrace at £650,000.
Property styles are diverse and reflect a rich architectural heritage, influenced by everyone from the Quaker bankers to the Scots who came to work in the herring fisheries. The latest addition will be from David Wilson Homes, which has permission to build 170 houses on the east side, though there is little chance of the town being spoilt by further development. There is little building land left and sprawl is unlikely as Whitby is sandwiched between the North York Moors National Park and the sea. This stunning location, along with the town’s character and charm, is what attract thousands of visitors and wouldbe homeowners.
Tim says: “What really put Whitby on the map was The Endeavour coming here in 2002 and so what was a 20 week a year holiday season is now 52 weeks a year.”
Visitor are well-served by shops, cafes and, more recently, by a wine bar and firstr class restaurants, such as Green’s
“Some of the new businesses are run by people who have moved here. We have former bankers who have bought farms and tearooms,” says Tim. “They come here for the good life.”
Bridgfords, tel: 01947 859179, www.bridgfords.co.uk
Astin’s, tel: 01947 821122, www.astin.co.uk
SEASIDE SPECIAL: Whitby’s dramatic scenery, stunning location and characterful steep streets have mass appeal