Why this Yorkshire town topped the chart for house price growth

Wetherby has topped the annual North Yorkshire House Price Index, according to property buying agents, The Search Partnership.

The company’s annual index records the average price paid per square foot for property, as recorded by the Land Registry, across six key areas, namely Thirsk, Ripon, Boroughbridge, Harrogate, Wetherby and Bedale.

Bedale, Thirsk, Ripon, and Boroughbridge have all seen reductions in house prices in 2023.

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The largest falls were seen in the villages surrounding Thirsk and Ripon, where prices dropped by eight per cent and four per cent respectively last year.

An aerial landscape of the West Yorkshire town of Wetherby with road bridge and weir over the river WharfeAn aerial landscape of the West Yorkshire town of Wetherby with road bridge and weir over the river Wharfe
An aerial landscape of the West Yorkshire town of Wetherby with road bridge and weir over the river Wharfe

In contrast, Harrogate and Wetherby have emerged as areas witnessing price growth. Harrogate saw a modest increase of two per cent last year, while Wetherby boasts a more substantial rise of ten per cent.

Search Partnership director Toby Milbank says: “Last year, North Yorkshire's housing market navigated a landscape of higher interest rates, along with the rest of the UK, and that has shaped the patterns of buyer behaviour.

“Interest rates have served as a mitigating factor, keeping the number of buyers in check. Notably, those buyers who have needed to move have been cautious, price sensitive and used the negative sentiment to negotiate lower purchase prices.

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“Historically, Wetherby and the villages surrounding have always been a popular part of the county. However, from 2014 until 2020 the Wetherby area saw little price growth during the six-year period.

"However, buyers have noticed that the area is providing comparatively good value for money and transaction levels have increased, which has pushed up prices, culminating in this 10 per cent increase in 2023.”

Fellow director, Tom Robinson added: “The best performing village in the Wetherby area in 2023 has been Kirby Overblow, which sits between Wetherby and Harrogate.

“Last year prices consistently surpassed £500 per square foot in the village, which has been a stalwart performer for as long we can remember. The combination of proximity to Harrogate, Leeds, and the airport, as well as the views over Lower Wharfedale has always attracted buyers and contributed significantly to the area’s overall rise in average house prices.”

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As for the future, Tom adds: “As we look forward in 2024, buyers and sellers alike will have a keen eye on interest rates. Mortgages are currently available at around 4.25 per cent, which is lower than the peak last year but with constant talk of rates coming down this year, we expect to see an increase in buyer confidence and an uplift in transactions levels as we move into quarter three.

"If there is to be some price growth in the Yorkshire market, we believe it is more likely that this will be in the Autumn, rather than Spring.”

There are multiple reasons why Wetherby has posted such strong growth, including its easy access onto the A1M, its proximity to Harrogate and to Leeds and easy access to gorgeous Yorkshire countryside.

The market town is also amenity rich with a host of independent shops plus a range of supermarkets including Aldi, Morrisons and a M&S Simply Food store.

Its racecourse, which features National Hunt and flat racing, is renowned and the area has traditionally been popular with high net worth individuals including professional footballers.