Chapeltown in Leeds tied with fashionable Ryde on the Isle of Wight for the UK’s second greatest price growth, according to the latest analysis by Knight Frank. It saw a price increase of 19 per cent between March 2020 and March 2021. Newquay in Cornwall was at number one with a 22 per cent rise.
The number-crunching may come as a surprise to some as Chapeltown has long been seen as a Cinderella suburb that carried the stigma of riots in the 1970s and 80s and gang warfare at the turn of the Millenium. The data from Knight Frank shows that a new generation of buyers is seeing Chapeltown with different eyes. Home hunters like the fact that it is a vibrant, community-minded place to live with fantastic links to the city centre and with fashionable Chapel Allerton, aka “Chapel A”, and upmarket Roundhay on the doorstep.
Tom Bill, head of UK Residential Research at Knight Frank says that the boost in values has been exacerbated by the pandemic but points to a pre-Covid trend, while Neil McGroarty, North Leeds valuations manager for Linley and Simpson estate agents, agrees that Chapeltown has been up-and-coming for a some time.
He says the biggest attraction is its house prices. “We are seeing buyers, particularly first-time buyers, looking at Chapeltown because they can’t afford Chapel Allerton or Roundhay. In Roundhay, a three-bedroom semi-detached house is now £375,000 to £395,000, whereas in Chapeltown you can find one in a sought-after street for £220,000 to £250,000.”
However, location matters, according to Neil: “Buyers are very specific. There are streets they want to live on and streets they don’t want to live on. This means that you have streets where properties sell for £220,000 plus and two or three streets away, they sell for £180,000.”
Meanwhile, research by Leeds-based HOP estate agency puts Horsforth as one of the city’s top performing suburbs in terms of price rises and desirability, particularly over the last six months.
Rich Hare, sales manager at HOP, says: “Prices rose by an average of 11 per cent over the past six months in LS18 4, bringing the average house price to £308,461.
This area incorporates the southern side of Horsforth, roughly between the River Aire, Town Street and Broadgate Lane. However, in LS18 5, which stretches from Town Street and Broadgate Lane up towards Bramhope, prices are up by 13 per cent to an average of £371,923.”
Horsforth’s road and rail links into both Harrogate and Leeds city centre, plus a wealth of amenities, including good schools, have made it desirable, says HOP, who add that the double honour of being named the UK’s fifth most sought-after area for homebuyers and being highlighted as a “city suburb with a proper country feel” in The Sunday Times Best Places to Live 2021 guide, have also boosted its appeal.
“There is still a huge imbalance between demand and supply in Horsforth and the market is fierce. Since we opened the doors of our new office here in May, every home in Horsforth that we have sold has gone for more than the asking price and generated multiple offers,” says Rich Hare. “We are getting 15 to 20 people fighting for one house. For one recent listing, we booked eight viewings within six minutes of launching it, which reinforces the level of demand that we are currently experiencing.”
For some, the price rises have proved too much and first-time buyers and families are among those who are abandoning hope of buying in Horsforth and are looking further afield.
Both Rich Hare and Neil McGroarty say that Pudsey, Farsley, Rodley and Cookridge are now booming as a result. All have a good community spirit and links to the city centre.
Kirkstall too has shot up thanks to significant investment in the area and the opening of Kirkstall railway station.
Meanwhile, buy-to-let investors and more intrepid first-time buyers are snapping up property in Armley, where you can still find a two-bedroom house for £115,000 and a semi-detached home from £145,000. “The projected growth for Armley next year is 10 to 11 per cent so investors can see they will make a good return,” says Rich.
If you are competing in a hotspot, he and other estate agents are advocating a “sell before you buy” approach to would-be buyers who are already on the property ladder. “People are finding that this offers the best chance of securing a home in this fast-moving market. It helps if sellers have a sale subject to contract, before even entering the race to secure their own purchase.
“This puts them in a strong position to buy suitable properties as soon as they come to market. Many are also choosing to complete their sale and rent until they find their dream home.”
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