The market for million pound-plus properties in Yorkshire is strong as wealthy ex-pats, escapees from London and well-heeled locals compete for the best that money can buy.
Fears that the five per cent rise in stamp duty for homes over £925,000 would stymie interest has proved wide of the mark, according to estate agents.
Tony Wright, partner at Carter Jonas, says: “Yorkshire, and in particular its golden triangle of Harrogate, Leeds and York, has long been home to a high-end property market. With family wealth and prosperity dating back to the Industrial Revolution, property priced over £1million has been trading well for over a decade.
“The inherent affluence of our patch means that stamp duty levies have largely been absorbed with little upheaval. It has, in some regards, made the market more price-conscious and motivated to do a deal, but providing a property is priced sensibly and accurately, it is likely to sell within a matter of weeks.”
Stamp duty land tax for homes worth between £925,001 and £1.5 million now stands at 10 per cent and, for homes worth over £1.5m it is 12 per cent. But Edward Hartshorne, of Blenkin & Co, which specialises in high-end homes in North and East Yorkshire, agrees that it is rarely a deterrent.
He says: “Yorkshire’s high value properties are catching the eye of a widening orbit of buyers in part because of the changing fortunes of other regions in the UK.
“As the London market stagnates and short-term growth prospects plummet, so homeowners with expanding families who live in the capital’s leafy suburbs are examining their options. Many with Yorkshire connections are tempted north and, by naming York as the best place to live in the UK, the Sunday Times has perhaps inadvertently precipitated that migration of wealth towards York, Harrogate and Leeds.”
Blenkin & Co has sold 12 houses priced at over £1 million in the past 15 months and no sale has foundered because of the tax leap.
The firm says that buyers with a firm footing in Yorkshire continue to buy the bulk of top-end country property. Kirby Knowle Castle and Oswaldkirk Rectory in North Yorkshire both flew off the shelf at over £3 million to local buyers.
The region holds a strong pull for those who moved away for work.
Edward Hartshorne says: “The buyer of one substantial country house, who had family roots in Yorkshire farming, had been working in New York for 20 years.”
In general, wealthy buyers are keen to make a mark on a property and “do-er uppers” are attractive provided the location is right.
Tony Wright says: “While dated properties might once have proved undesirable, today they are indelibly popular. Providing the property is priced to reflect the work that needs doing, achieving a sale should be relatively straight forward.”
He adds that beautifully presented homes “worthy of featuring in an interiors magazine” are also selling well, regardless of price.
Andrew Beadnall, of Beadnall Copley estate agents, believes that while millionaire buyers are plentiful and will put up with paying more stamp duty, they are becoming more choosy.
“Buyers in all age groups are on our mailing lists in huge numbers at present, be it families with school age children or older couples on the look-out for the ideal ‘lock up and leave’ bolt-hole in central Harrogate or by the river in Wetherby.
“Not too long ago these buyers would settle for eight out of 10 when buying but now it seems they are after the ‘perfect 10’. This is due to the market slowing in London. Buyers up north want to make sure they are investing wisely just in case a cooling in the market happens in our region.”
On the wish-list for most millionaires is land for the privacy it affords and a great, unblighted view. Families want good schools and transport links.
The only thing those with big budgets can’t buy is choice.
“At present, the greatest source of frustration in the £1million plus market is lack of supply,” says Tony Wright.
“Demand remains strong and buyers are active, but they have to act quickly and decisively.”
*Knight Frank’s analysis of the latest Land Registry data shows that the biggest annual increase in £1 million-plus sales was in Yorkshire, followed by the North West and the West Midlands – all regions of the country that saw good house price growth in 2017, which partially explains the rise in million pound plus transactions.
The number of homes sold for more than £1 million in England and Wales rose by six per cent last year, according to HMRC.