Riverside town is outshining Harrogate

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Knaresborough has caught the eye of a posh people’s periodical and buyers are impressed. Sharon Dale reports

Upmarket Harrogate is one of Yorkshire’s premier property hotspots but it’s just been spectacularly “out poshed” by its nearest neighbour.

Knaresborough’s Meadowside Primary School recently featured in Tatler’s top 20 list of acceptable state schools and to be in the catchment you must, of course, live in the town.

The high society magazine endorsement could give buyers desperate to live in the spa town an incentive to widen their search area.

If they do consider a home without Betty’s, The Baths and The Stray on the doorstep, they’ll find Knaresborough has a lot to offer and it’s only a ten minute drive or train ride from the bright lights of HG1.

House prices are at least ten per cent cheaper than Harrogate, according to Nick Alcock, manager of Dacre, Son and Hartley’s Knaresborough office, and they are performing well.

“The market is very strong at the moment because there is a lack of new property coming on to the market ,” says Nick, who adds that prices rose by five per cent last year, on a par with the top-performing areas of Yorkshire. His prediction for this year is a rise of two per cent thanks to uncertainty created by the forthcoming General Election.

Prices in the town start at bout £100,000 for a one bedroom flat, while a two bedroom starter home is around £150,000. Three bed semis start at £200,000 and a detached at £275,000.  

Property types vary from cottages to newer properties on housing estates. There will be more of the latter shortlly after a battle was lost to prevent 170 houses being built on land off Boroughbridge Road. These along with more new development on York Road and a proposed 2,500 village at nearby Flaxby could put pressure on Knaresborough’s schools and the road network.

Developers have targeted the area after noting its proximity to Harrogate and its excellent transport links. It is minutes from the A1M and has a train station with links to York and Leeds. At the moment, the majority of buyers are from within town, but estate agents are starting to see more people from outside. “Knaresborough offers good value, so we see people selling their three bedroom semi in Harrogate and getting a four bedroom property here for a similar price. We are also seeing more people relocate from outside the area,” says Nick.

The schools are a major draw. Meadowside Primary is ranked outstanding and the town’s King James High School is excellent. Last year, 71 per cent of pupils achieved five or more  A* to B grades.

While Knaresborough doesn’t have the same retail or restaurant offering as Harrogate, it has a castle, a host of independent shops, delis and small branches of Sainsbury’s and Tesco. Other amenities include a leisure centre, a pretty riverside area and Nidd Gorge. It is, perhaps, best-known as the home of 16th century seuthsayer Mother Shipton.

Her forecasts were often doom laden, but the future of her town looks bright providing excessive new development doesn’t destroy its character and infrastructure.

Gina Lucas, manager of Bridgfords estate agents, says: “Houses are selling really well and lack of supply is a problem. In 2010 there were around 200 houses on the market and at the moment there are under 100. One of the issues is that people don’t tend to move from Knaresborough, which says a lot. It is a great place to live.”