It’s in the rhubarb triangle not the golden triangle but Wakefield’s assets inspire loyalty. Sharon Dale reports.
It’s easy to see why buyers become obsessed with Yorkshire’s golden triangle. The area that takes in Leeds, Wetherby, York and Harrogate has it all, from great transport links and rural beauty to aspirational property, posh shops and restaurants.
But Yorkshire has another famous triangle, where the transport links are equally good, the countryside glorious and the house prices are cheaper.
The rhubarb triangle, between Wakefield, Morley and Rothwell, is renowned for its forced rhubarb but it’s also an area that inspires devotion among those who live there.
Its capital, Wakefield, is especially well-loved, so much so that most of its property buyers are trading up and down within its boundaries.
“People like it and they like to stay where their family and friends are and that makes for very strong communities. In terms of attracting buyers from outside, we do that too because people look on a map and realise how well connected we are,” says estate agent Richard Kendall, who adds that there is also a growing Polish community in need of homes to rent thanks to jobs at Wakefield 41 industrial estate, which houses a Coca Cola factory and Asda warehouses.
Estate agent Lee Whitehead, of Simon Blyth’s Wakefield office, agrees: “People who live here are very loyal to Wakefield and I can see why. It is attractive, affordable and it has some beautiful villages.”
A major draw is the easy access to the M1 and M62 and the trains to Leeds and London from Kirkgate, while schools, including the private Wakefield Girls High, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar and Silcoates, attract families to the area.
A regeneration programme that has brought apartments and a spruced up shopping centre has improved the heart of the town that now attracts visitors from all over the world, thanks to The Hepworth Gallery and the nearby Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
The PR is good for the property market, which is experiencing a buoyant year. Figures from Richard Kendall’s agency reveal that viewings in the area are up 30 per cent this year compared to 2014.
“A lot more people are looking to buy and we could see even more this autumn. That may well be because there is talk of an interest rate rise and people want to sort out a mortgage deal before that happens,” he says.
The number of property sales is on a par with those last year, which was a busy year. Prices are “holding up not shooting up, rising by a percentage or two over the past year”, according to Kendall’s statistics, which is good news for first-time buyers.
Those who want to get on the property ladder in Wakefield can still find a two-bedroom apartment for £70,000 and a terraced house for £90,000.
Family-sized homes start from around £170,000. One top property set to cause interest is Woodthorpe Lodge in Sandal, which is for sale with Richard Kendall for £1.5m. The former home of the Bishop of Wakefield has six bedrooms, seven attic rooms, eight basement rooms, chaplain’s quarters and a separate two-bedroom cottage. It is in Sandal, which is one of Wakefield’s most sought-after areas, along with Newmillerdam, Woolley, West Bretton, Heath and Notton.
Up and coming areas include affordable Crofton and Stanley, while Wrenthorpe is “coming back in fashion”, according to Kendall’s trend report.