Road to riches: AI corridor house price index

A price index covering the A1 corridor shows why a short drive could save you thousands. Sharon Dale reports
Harrogate is a honeypot for buyersHarrogate is a honeypot for buyers
Harrogate is a honeypot for buyers

House price indices are notoriously fickle and differ wildly depending on which data is used and how the numbers are crunched.

Frustrations over the capricious nature of these statistics led property search and buying specialists Toby Milbank and Tom Robinson, of The Search Partnership, to devise their own index.

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Concentrating on village homes around Yorkshire’s A1 corridor between Harrogate and Bedale, they used price per square foot to calculate the true cost of properties bought and sold over the past five years.

The A1 spine house price indexThe A1 spine house price index
The A1 spine house price index

Tom says: “There are widely conflicting views from the usual national house price commentators, which leads to confusion at local level. The national statistics sway the average UK average house price significantly. A quick search online shows that in London SW3, the sale price per square foot averages £2,018. In Yorkshire, it is closer to £200 per square foot. We thought it was about time that a more focused analysis was undertaken to give a reality check and manage the expectation of both buyers and sellers.”

They took the price of every house sold and divided it by the gross internal area, which gave them an average price per square foot. Given that Harrogate is the region’s property hotspot, it isn’t surprising that it achieves both the highest price per square foot, £354/sq. ft, and the biggest property price increase of almost 23% over the last five years. Wetherby has also seen similar rates of growth with average prices per square foot increasing 22%. The area with the lowest growth is around Bedale, where property prices have fallen by 0.7% since 2011.

“The results demonstrate a clear trend. The countryside villages at the top section of the A1 spine show a lower average price,” says Toby.

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This makes the area excellent value. “Harrogate remains the honeypot of the north in terms of numbers of buyers, desirability and price growth,” says Toby. “However, if a buyer is looking for more house for their money, the differential is clearly displayed. In Harrogate, a 2,000 sq.ft property with an average £/sq.ft of £305 will cost £610,000. In a village around Bedale, the same sized house with similar attributes will cost just under £400,000, on average. Alternatively, you can look at it this way: a budget of £600,000 a buyer gets a 2,000 sq.ft house in a village around Harrogate and a house of about 3,000 sq.ft in a village around Bedale.

“This extra space equates to about three additional rooms and there is also a better chance of a larger garden, parking, garaging and perhaps even a small paddock.”

However, Toby and Tom caution that compromises may have to be made if you choose to forsake Harrogate and its environs for a more rural, less expensive home. “There are still plenty of options in terms of restaurants, bars and cinemas. They are just not all on the doorstep and buyers need to understand that they will have to use their car or taxis to enjoy such facilities. Some people will not forego the convenience of a town like Harrogate but for others, the space, fresh air, and lifestyle benefits of a more rural property are a major attraction.”

The Search Partnership specialises in finding houses, country estates, forestry and farms and land,