Shock result for Harrogate in house price index

House prices in Yorkshire showed the highest rise in the country in February this year.
House prices in Yorkshire showed the highest rise in the country in February this year.
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The latest Land Registry house price data for Yorkshire revealed some surprises. Sharon Dale reports.

Yorkshire experienced the UK’s greatest monthly rise in house prices between January and February this year, according to the latest Land Registry House Price Index.

The region’s residential property prices rose 2.5 per cent, which was quadruple the UK average of 0.6 per cent.

Annual growth between February 2016 and February 2017 in Yorkshire was 5.2 per cent, taking the average house price in the region to £154,591.

The Craven area of Yorkshire, which includes Skipton and Settle, saw the biggest year-on-year rise between with a 13.7 per cent increase.

Hull, this year’s UK City of Culture, was the second best performer with a 10 per cent growth in prices and Selby, which is attracting buyers priced out of York, was third with a rise of 9.6 per cent.

Hambleton, which includes Thirsk and Easingwold, showed an annual fall of 2.1 per cent, which may come as a surprise as the area was recently singled out as one of the best places to live in Britain.

The Halifax rural quality of life survey named it as the fourth best place to live in the country and the best in Yorkshire.

The area was immortalised by local vet Alf Wight, whose James Herriot series of books led to the TV series “All Creatures Great and Small. He referred to it as “God’s Own Country”.

More recently, Hambleton has become popular with buyers from Leeds, York and London, who are looking to move somewhere more rural.

Richmondshire, which covers the northern section of the Yorkshire Dales, also suffered an annual decrease in property values. Prices in this rural area fell by 2.1 per cent, while over in Calderdale they fell by 0.6 per cent.

Another shock, given the area’s status as a premier hotspot, was Harrogate, where prices rose by just 0.7 per cent over the 12-month period to February this year. This takes the average price in the spa town to £265,799.

Colin Bonham, a valuer at Myrings estate agents, says the figure is a mystery even though the Land Registry price index is considered to be one of the most accurate: “I am very surprised because we have seen no evidence of a slowdown in prices or activity over the past year. Brexit certainly had very little effect. In fact only one sale fell through and that was a buyer from London.”

He adds: “In March last year we had 35 sales and this year we had 47. At the moment we have 129 sales going through and most of them have achieved 100 per cent of the asking price so it’s very hard to understand why the Land Registry house price figure is so low.

“There is still a huge amount of interest in buying into Harrogate, not least because of the good schools and I can’t see that changing.”

One possible explanation for the low annual rise is that stamp duty is affecting prices at the top end of the market. The stamp duty on a property priced at £1m is now £43,750.

The Land Registry house price data for other local authority areas in Yorkshire over the 12 months between February 2016 and February 2017, shows gains for Barnsley 1.7 per cent; Bradford 3.3 per cent; Doncaster 4.1 per cent; East Riding 4.4 per cent; Kirklees 2.1 per cent; Leeds 5.4 per cent; North Yorkshire 4.3 per cent; Rotherham 5.7 per cent; Ryedale 4.5 per cent; Scarborough 7.3 per cent; Sheffield 3.2 per cent; Wakefield 3.4 per cent and York 4.9 per cent.

The average UK annual price increase was 5.8 per cent, which takes the average property value to £217,502. London house prices rose by 3.7 per cent over the year, which means the average property price is £474,704. Monthly house prices in the capital fell by 0.9 per cent.

The regional data indicates that the East of England experienced the greatest increase in its average property price over the 12 months to February with a movement of 10.3 per cent. The North East saw the lowest annual price growth with an increase of 2.2 per cent. Sales during December last year, the most up-to-date Land Registry figures available, show that house sales in England fell by 19 per cent. The number of sales in London fell by 31.3 per cent.