Why more buyers are heading to well-equipped Yorkshire
LAST year, 38 per cent of buyers through Knight Frank Harrogate came from out of Yorkshire, continuing an upward trend that we have noticed in recent years and increasing from 34 per cent in 2010.
As a Yorkshireman I am, of course, delightedas this means that over 60 per cent of our buyers also want to stay in the region rather than move elsewhere.
What I also find encouraging is that the analysis of our buyers reveals thatg almost 10 per cent have moved here from London or overseas, with over a quarter being from elsewhere in the UK.
As we all know, Yorkshire offers an unrivalled amalgam of attributes. From the exceptional beauty of the Dales and the dramatic scenery of the East Coast, to strong commercial centres and cutting edge IT services, it is no coincidence that when you package together all these attributes, and indeed many more, into the area known as “Yorkshire”, house buyers far and wide wish to live here.
I always have considerable pleasure pointing out to my partners in central London that I can often be back in Yorkshire by train quicker than they can when travelling to the depths of Oxfordshire or Hampshire.
When one combines this with the on-going improvements to the M1 and M62 (even if there is some short term disruption at present), and the final section of the A1 to be taken to motorway standards in North Yorkshire, it is understandable that car travel is a logical alternative.
The final piece of the infrastructure jigsaw that attracts buyers is the ever improving flight options from Leeds/ Bradford Airport, where they now offer a choice of up to 75 destinations headlined by the widely publicised re-instatement of the link to Heathrow with British Airways.
So having attracted the buyers, I am often asked “what it the ideal house to sell?” Unfortunately, I suppose, this is a bit like asking how long a piece of string is when you consider the options available across the county.
There are those who love the wonderful isolation of a rural farmhouse at the top end of the Dales, but the availability of broadband is often an essential and understandable prerequisite, particularly where we have buyers wanting to do combined city and country living. Sensibly planned and well-maintained family houses in suburban locations currently remain as popular as ever, providing they are properly priced. The availability of schooling is often the driver where mum or dad want to minimise the personal taxi service, hence why the availability of public transport is a great advantage with teenagers.
There are also those starting on the property ladder and the down-sizers, for whom the convenience of urban living, be that in flats or town houses, is either a commercial necessity due to value or a lifestyle choice to release capital.
The much quoted estate agent’s cliché “location, location, location” remains as strong today as ever. It is interesting that for some the criteria now defining “location”, includes access to infrastructure and good IT, as well as the local school or shops. Witness current buyers I am dealing with who include the owners of an international on-line training company run from a barn in Nidderdale and a Pan European Managing Director who travels extensively out of Leeds/Bradford airport to ensure his children can attend a particularly highly-regarded state school in Harrogate.
From an agent’s perspective it’s not just a question of knowing the attributes of the properties we sell, it is getting to know our buyers really well, finding out at an early stage what the drivers to their purchase are, and ensuring we match the two together.
Some would say it’s traditional estate agency in a modern world.
Tim Waring is a Harrogate based partner of Knight Frank and heads their estate agent team in Yorkshire. www. knightfrank.co.uk/harrogate