Such is Harrogate’s lure as a desirable location some people are choosing to up sticks from the south and endure a commute to London during the week for work to secure a home in the spa town.
As the North-South property divide widens estate agents say they are selling homes to newcomers who are attracted by the fact that while homes command high prices they can still get far more for their money in Harrogate than in the south of the country. They can base their families in the spa town with its good schools and leafy surroundings and take the train to London, where they typically spend three or four days before returning later in the week to spend time with their families.
Estate agents say Harrogate is popular with families and retirees and in some of the most popular areas they have a waiting list for homes over the £1m bracket from people keen to find the right home in the right location.
Tony Wright, partner at Carter Jonas, who is based in Harrogate, said: “I think at the moment its fair to say that central Harrogate is more buoyant. There seems to be a demand for town living at the moment rather than rural country living in a more remote outlying area.
“There’s also a significant market in the Pannal and Burn Bridge area and the Washburn Valley.”
He said the Washburn Valley area was picturesque and close to Harrogate but was also attractive to those wishing to commute to Leeds and Bradford, while Pannal, well-known for its golf course, has good road and rail links.
Mr Wright said there was also demand in good school catchment areas.
“I would say that there has been an improving markets over the last six, nine, 12 months. There are buyers who are sat waiting ready to pounce for the right think to come up,” Mr Wright said.
Part of Harrogate’s attraction is its greenery and open spaces. Homes with views of sought-after the Stray can command high prices, with large family homes which have not been split into flats, sometimes able to command an asking price of over £1m. Another area in high demand with high prices - where there is a waiting list for those keen to hear about homes as soon as they go up for sale - is The Duchy.
Here delightful family homes in this tranquil part of town sell for a high premium.
Recent research carried out by estate agents Strutt and Parker found the average age of buyers in North Yorkshire was decreasing - with the most popular places to buy being Harrogate, the fringes of the North Yorkshire Moors and the Dales. Over a third of buyers in 2012 were under 40, while the over 60s market was just 12 per cent.
Yesterday there were plenty of young mums out with their children, walking along the Stray, or taking a look at Harrogate’s bustling shops. While, a familiar queue had begun to form at the town’s branch of Betty’s.
One woman, her young daughter skipping happily alongside her, who asked not to be named said: “Its a really great place to live.
“There’s a busy town centre, plenty of green spaces and good schools for when my daughter is older. Its also very close to places like Leeds where my husband works.”
Mr Wright added: “There’s demand from families - Harrogate offers all you could ever want from a town in truth.”
He said some people are moving to Harrogate from the south: “There are quite a number of buyers who want to come up from the South. Some people will go and live in London for three or four days and then come back up.
“When you look at what the prices are in London you can get a lot more for your money here,” he added.