OFTEN seen as the poor relation to its trendy neighbour, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden has emerged triumphant as the top performer in a property price league table.
The town, which borders Lancashire and Greater Manchester, registered the biggest house price rise in Yorkshire over the past six months.
Tod, as it is affectionately known, saw values climb by 3.89 per cent. In August last year, the average price was £138,856 and it is now £144,263, showing a gain of £5,407, according to exclusive research for The Yorkshire Post by property portal Zoopla. Hebden Bridge, meanwhile, saw a 2.58 per cent rise.
The second highest gain was in Cottingham, near Hull, which saw a buoyant 3.12 per cent uplift in property values. They now stand at an average £203,356. Holmfirth was third in the table with homes now worth 2.99 per cent more.
The golden triangle hotspots all showed a slight decline in average values, with York prices falling 0.2 per cent, Ilkley’s 0.49 per cent, Leeds’s 0.67 per cent and Wetherby’s 0.81 per cent.
Rotherham, which has been tarnished by a high-profile abuse scandal, is the worst performer, with prices dropping by 6.2 per cent over the six-month period. The town saw average prices lose £8,543 as they fell from £137,838 to £129,295 dragging it to the bottom of the national table. Whitby was second worst in Yorkshire and nationally with a fall of 6.05 per cent, bringing average values tumbling by £13,263 from £225,212 to £211,589.
The figures will come as a surprise to many as Whitby is regarded as the jewel in the East Coast’s crown and is a favourite with wealthy second home owners.
The top seaside performer was Bridlington, which saw values rise by 0.9 per cent to £138,134. In Filey, property prices dropped by 1.34 per cent and in Scarborough by 1.71 per cent.
Lawrence Hall of Zoopla says: “When evaluating price growth in Yorkshire over the past six months, one would automatically assume properties in the cities have performed the best, but values in nine of the ten largest towns and cities have actually fallen since August 2014, with only Halifax bucking the trend with a 0.46 per cent increase.
“Instead, the strongest appreciation has been witnessed in the market town of Todmorden, where average prices have grown by almost four per cent. With typical values in the area hovering around the £144,000 mark, buyers can get plenty of bang for their buck and are within easy commutable distance of Leeds and Manchester as well as the likes of Halifax and Huddersfield.”
Over in Todmorden, Ben Turner, of Anthony J Turner estate agents, is not surprised by the Zoopla findings and attributes the town’s popularity to property portals.
“Over the last 15 years we have seen a massive leap in enquiries, before then it was Calderdale’s forgotten town. If buyers look on the internet for a property within 20 miles of Manchester, Todmorden comes up on the search.
“They see how much more they can get for their money here and it’s got a direct train to Manchester. The internet has put Todmorden on the map.”
The BBC’s move to Media City in Salford has also helped attract those who prefer the town’s dramatic countryside, stone cottages and down-to-earth community, as opposed to the flat landscape and pretensions of the South Manchester suburbs and Cheshire’s commuter belt.
Residents in Tod also have a 40 minute commute to Leeds by train and its prices are lower than fashionable Hebden Bridge.
“Todmorden has always been seen as the poor relation to Hebden Bridge and houses are up to 30 per cent cheaper here but the gap is closing, especially at the top end of the market,” says Ben.
Prices start at £75,000 for a terraced house, while in Hebden they start at £115,000. Cottages start at £125,000.
“It’s still affordable and best of all it has a great community spirit. Once people move here they tend to stay, which says a lot about the place. Hebden Bridge has a very transient population. There’s a four-year churn there, whereas Todmorden doesn’t have that turnover,” says Ben, who predicts an even brighter future. “I expect to see strong, steady growth in Todmorden and, as it gets better known, its desirability will increase. As far as I am concerned it is the pride of the Pennines.”