It’s not just the Golden Triangle that glitters for buyers
Hills, mills and many hidden charms. Huddersfield and its surroundings are attracting buyers from outside Yorkshire. Sharon Dale reports
WHEN estate agent James England began covering Huddersfield and the surrounding area, he admits to being surprised at what he discovered in the town and its hinterland.
“It’s a place that’s misunderstood and underrated. When I started in this patch ten years ago I realised very quickly that not all that glitters is in the Golden Triangle,” says James, referring to the property hotspot that lies in the area between North Leeds, York and Harrogate.
“I was amazed by the beautiful countryside, the chocolate box villages and the pretty valleys. It’s so varied too. The Holme Valley has a softer landscape, while over at Slaithwaite and Marsden it’s much bolder.
“The views still blow me away, so much so that I sometimes stop the car just to take them in.”
He recently opened his own eponymous agency, England Residential, to focus on the top end of the property market, which has an abundance of grand houses thanks to the area’s industrial heritage that made mill owners richer than Midas.
In the 1960s, there were said to be more Rolls Royces per capita in Huddersfield than anywhere else in the country.
The wealthy also put their money into bricks and mortar, which has provided an exceptional architectural legacy, from imposing Victorian mansions to ground-breaking properties like Farnley Hey at Farnley Tyas. Designed in 1954 by the architect Peter Womersley, it is one of Britain’s most celebrated mid-century modern houses and is on the market with Bramleys and The Modern House for £575,000.
The most expensive home on the market at the moment is an exquisite modern mansion at Kirkburton, so exclusive that the price is only available to those who can afford to pay it. But it tops the listings on Rightmove and is pitched above the second priciest property, another newbuild at Upper Hopton for £2.9m.
First time buyers are also wellcatered for with two bedroom terraced houses from £50,000 and semis from £120,000.
“I find that people will move into this area for a specific home. It’s often those from outside Yorkshire who are looking for something exceptional and who have a regional outlook. They aren’t hindered by any preconceptions,” says James.
For captains of industry and well-heeled professionals, connectivity is a big draw and it is one of the area’s biggest assets, according to Simon Blyth.
Simon, a well-known local personality who has six estate agency branches and a HQ in Holmfirth, says: “The area is in between the M1 and M62 so you can be in Leeds, Sheffield or Manchester within 25 minutes and we don’t have the kind of major bottlenecks that you get on the outskirts of Harrogate and Leeds. We also have a good train service.”
He adds that good restaurants are also plentiful and they include Eric’s in Lindley, which was dubbed a “Hidden Gem” by Delicious magazine.
They feed a clientele whose wealth isn’t always conspicuous. There’s a lot of old money in the Huddersfield area and you can’t always tell who has it.
“It’s a subtle wealth that’s very well-established. On our lettings side, it’s not unusual to have local landlords with 60 or 70 properties and they haven’t just had them for five years, they’ve been in the family for 105 years,” says Simon, who adds that the area has a less transient population than Leeds and Harrogate.
The most sought-after parts in the town are Lindley and Edgerton and desirable areas outside it include Farnley Tyas, Holmfirth, Honley, Kirkburton, Slaithwaite and Fixby. Prices are warming up and have increased by an average of three to four per cent over the past year.
Simon adds: “Another great benefit of buying here is that a lot of the houses were built using stone from local quarries. They are very well-built and because there’s a lot of space and a lot of hills here, you often get fantastic views.”