Barnsley has been crowned the most affordable place to buy a first home in Yorkshire after number crunchers at the Nationwide building society revealed the cheapest areas to buy a home in God’s Own County.
The Barnsley postcode area, which includes surrounding villages, measured 3.7 on the first-time buyer house price to earnings ratio and the average first home there costs £125,102. While house prices in Barnsley still offer great value for money, Rightmove data shows that they have risen nine per cent, bringing the average price to £167,526 over the last year.
Stacey Ferens, who heads the Simon Blyth estate agency office in Barnsley and who is Barnsley born and bred, says: “Our house prices are half that of some areas of Yorkshire and we have a thriving first-time buyer market, which has been very busy over the past year.”
It’s also fast moving. A three-bedroom, end terraced house, recently marketed by Simon Blyth, attracted 28 viewings and 13 offers, though Stacey adds that most young buyers want three-bedroom semis with gardens and a garage as they are looking to stay long term and raise families in their first home. The average price for a semi is £140,000 and when they come on the market, they tend to sell straight away.
The majority of those purchasing their first home are local and want to stay in the area so they can be close to family and friends, which says a lot for the community spirit in this spirited South Yorkshire enclave. “It’s a great place to live, people here are very friendly, we have plenty of amenities and the transport links are very good,” says Stacey, who points to bus and rail services, along with quick and easy access to the M1.
Buy-to let investors have also spotted the potential in the Barnsley postcodes where you can still find flats for £40,000 and terraced houses from £60,000. The top end of the market has also seen more activity as buyers from outside the area discover exceptional homes in vibrant villages and rural beauty spots with great connectivity to the transport network.
Preconceived ideas about Barnsley and its former mining villages still exist among those old enough to recall the devastating impact of Margaret Thatcher’s aggressive policies on coal and its miners. Those who don’t know the area fail to realise that it has regenerated and has always had beautiful countryside and des res locations.
Jill and Robert Thompson can testify to that. “The negative perception of Barnsley being full of muck heaps, ferrets and flat caps is far from the truth,” says Jill. The Thompsons’ beautiful farmhouse home on Huddersfield Road, Barnsley, is a prime example. Pictured right, it is now for sale for £1.675m with Fine & Country after 32 years and is in a sublime rural setting. It has three bedrooms, a leisure suite, a three-bedroom annexe, breathtaking views, paddocks, stables and barns plus 21 acres of land.
Surrounded by countryside, it sits between sought-after Cawthorne and West Bretton with the M1 a five-minute drive away and a train station in nearby Darton. “It means we are able to catch the train from Wakefield at 9am to London to see a matinee performance with lunch beforehand and be back home by 9pm,” says Jill, who adds that the main attraction of her home is the beautiful countryside walks and the amenity rich local villages.
In short, Barnsley is no longer “Brassed Off”. It is solid gold.
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