Malton is in the finals of the most Dog-friendly Place in Britain awards this weekend, adding yet another reason for buyers to target the town, which has become one of Yorkshire's most popular places to live.
Other recent accolades for this property hotspot include winning the small town category in the 2018 Yorkshire in Bloom awards, although its greatest success is its transformation from a relatively unknown market town into the Food Capital of Yorkshire.
It is agreed that self-confessed foodie and keen cook Tom Naylor-Leyland was instrumental in this metamorphosis. He took over the running of his family's Fitzwilliam Malton estate 10 years ago and spotted the potential to give Malton a USP.
The estate owns 60 per cent of the commercial property in Malton and Tom and his team have encouraged food producers and sellers to move in.
Talbot Yard, a converted coach house is now home to a host of artisan food producers, including Groovy Moo ice cream, Roost coffee, Bluebird Bakery and butcher Paul Potts.
The estate also hosts a monthly food market and there is an annual Food Lovers Festival attracting over 30,000 visitors. The latest coup is a Stew and Oyster, a hipster bar and restaurant, which opens soon, plus a vegan/vegetarian deli, The Purple Carrot.
Already rich in independent traders selling everything from homeware and antiques to fish and fruit and veg, even more have moved in making the town an exciting proposition for locals and day trippers.
“It's been a community effort. The most thrilling thing is meeting someone who knows the town but who hasn't been back for a while because they can really see how it has changed.
“In the last four years alone we've had 26 new food and drink businesses set up here. They are young, keen and full of energy and they've helped create this independent spirit,” says Tom, who adds that a recent Visit Britain tour for global Instagram influencers from America and China selected London, Edinburgh and Malton for its itinerary.
Some visitors have moved there after discovering that retail is just one of its many charms. With the Wolds and North York Moors on the doorstep, Malton is also close to the coast and a half-hour drive from York. There's a train station with services to York and Leeds, good schools and a leisure centre.
The only issue is a lack of residential property for sale, which is why Chiltern Place, a collection of six new “boutique” apartments, is causing such a stir.
The flats are in a converted merchant's building and have smashed the ceiling price for one-bedroom apartments in the town thanks to their location, amenities and luxurious fit-out.
On the market with Blenkin and Co. and Mark Stephensons estate agents, they cost from £225,000 each and have attracted a huge amount of interest from asset-rich downsizers and those who want a second home to investors.
Earlier this year, Blenkin & Co achieved the highest value per square foot for a family house in Malton.
“Some locals baulked at the guide price of £635,000 for the four-bedroom house in Middlecave Road. We knew that the best houses in Malton were reaching a new and aspiring market. In the last few years we've seen buyers from York and even London making Malton their point of focus,” says Blenkin and Co. MD Edward Hartshorne, who is still awestruck at the town's renaissance.
“When I first moved here 25 years ago, it was the go-to place for energetic young farmers to have a fight on a Friday night. How it has transformed. My wife, a Malton GP, now compares the town to the King's Road in Chelsea. For independent shops and cafes, there's nothing else like it in North Yorkshire.”
Blenkin and Co.'s marketing director Hilary Pegrum, who recently moved into the town from a nearby village, adds “I love the juxtaposition of the old and the new: its 18th century streets and market square are filled with exciting, contemporary shops and long-established businesses; alongside the traditional Saturday market and 200-year-old livestock market are the monthly artisan food markets and festivals. Everything lies within a few minutes' walk.”
She adds: “Malton is a town that has found a way to flourish well into the 21st century and I feel fortunate to have caught the rising wave of this evolution.”
The town's growing popularity is causing property prices to rise and the average house price is now £231,780, although the town is still cheaper than nearby York, which has an average price of £249,086.
The starting price in Malton at the moment is a one-bedroom flat on Yorkersgate for £89,000 with Willowgreen estate agents. A four-bedroom detached new-build by Linden Homes is £279,950 and at the top of the market at the moment is a detached bungalow in Old Malton for £380,000 with Rounthwaite and Woodhead estate agents.
Norton, which locals regards as part of Malton, is slightly cheaper and you can walk to Malton town centre from there.
Lisa Tyler, founder of Willowgreen, says: “Prices in Ryedale have risen by eight per cent in the last year and by 23 per cent in the last five years.
“That is partly due to Malton and the surrounding villages. It is incredibly popular and there is very little for sale in the town. Properties that are on at the right price attract multiple offers.”
The most sought-after locations in town are The Mount, which is a conservation area, East Mount, Middlecave Road, Castle Howard Road and The Avenue in neighbouring Norton.
*Chiltern Place is a merchant's building in the heart Malton. It has been converted into six, one-bedroom apartments dressed by Interiors at Nine to Eleven in Malton.
Edward Hartshorne of Blenkin and Co., says: “We are receiving interest from people with long-held connections to the town as well as people who live far and wide, including a Hong Kong investor.”
Prices start at £225,000. Contact: blenkinandco.com; markstephensons.co.uk