Many of those who work in central Leeds love the city and its many attractions but have no desire to live there. Since driving in and out is a nightmare at peak times, they let the train take the strain and target towns with great rail links.
Top of the list for aspirational buyers are Ilkley and Harrogate and house prices in those locations reflect their popularity, but analysis by Zoopla has revealed a new contender.
Bingley has just appeared in a list of Britain’s top ten best performing commuter hotspots within an hour’s travel of our largest cities. Values in the town shot up by 7.91 per cent last year, almost double the Yorkshire average.
Swanley in Kent was at number one in the Zoopla table with prices increasing by 10.78 per cent in 2017. Ilkley was at number seven and saw prices rise by 8.52 per cent. Bingley is at number 10, but the average house price in the town is £231,536, almost half that of Ilkley, where the average is £404,994.
Lawrence Hall, of Zoopla, says: “An easy commute into the office is often very near the top of the property wish-list for those looking to move home and these figures show just how valuable it can be.”
For many, buying into a commuter hotspot can also prove prohibitively expensive, which is why Bingley is being targeted as an alternative to Golden Triangle favourites. The train journey time into Leeds is also quicker. From Ilkley it takes 30 minutes, while from Bingley it is 23 minutes.
Estate agent Steven Potts, head of Dacre, Son and Hartley’s Bingley office. has no doubt about the “train effect” on the town’s property market.
“Commuter rail links are the biggest draw and there is definitely a feel-good factor about the town. An increasing number of people are seeing Bingley as a cheaper alternative to Ilkley.
“Our records show that demand has been rising for the last two years and prices increased between five and ten per cent last year. Semi-detached properties were the most popular and many of them saw a 10 per cent rise.”
The town’s other main charms include good schools. Bingley Grammar and Beckfoot high school are sought after. There is a swimming pool, plenty of sports clubs and canalside walks with the 550-acre St Ives estate country park on the doorstep.
Although rising, prices are still low enough for first-time buyers. One-bedroom apartments start from £60,000, terraced houses from £125,000, semis from £195,000 and detached houses from £300,000.
Alison Gillett of Hunters estate agents says that the town is showing clear signs of gentrification, helped by a bypass, which has reduced traffic in the town centre.
“We now have some great restaurants, wine and gin bars and coffee shops and the big chains have targeted us so there’s a Costa and a Subway,” she says.
“We are seeing more investors buying apartments by the canal. A two-bedroom apartment is about £125,000 and they rent for between £500 and £575 per month. We are also seeing more first-time buyers and more downsizers buying into Bingley.”
The only thing the town hasn’t got is an “upmarket” supermarket, though there is an Aldi and Lidl is about to build a store on the site of the old Bradford and Bingley offices. “I’m not sure why Sainsbury’s decided not to open here but they might be regretting the decision now,” says Alison.