The death of the high street is predicted but there are still places where retail and restaurants thrive and their impact on house prices cannot be underestimated, according to estate agent Mark Manning, MD of Manning Stainton: “High streets can really make or break an area. A great high street makes a place more
attractive, so more people want to live there, which pushes up demand and increases house prices.
“It also results in more affluent people moving to an area as they want to be close to the action and will pay more to be in the thick of it.
“As people with higher incomes move in, you'll often see an area change dramatically and this means that the high street will react with new offerings that are suited to the new, more affluent demographic.”
Meanwood, a suburb of Leeds that is close to popular Headingley and the city centre, is one of the best examples.
The catalyst for a radical transformation from bog standard and a bit scruffy to sought-after was the opening of a Waitrose in 2010.
Supermarkets are super-efficient in cherry picking the right location for new stores and Waitrose had spotted Meanwood's untapped potential.
Mark says: “Before Waitrose opened, Meanwood's high street was pretty standard and didn't offer much to attract people to the area.
“However, following the opening of Waitrose, the whole high street and surrounding area has changed.
“There are now numerous independent bars, coffee shops and restaurants that attract people from far and wide.
“This has had a huge impact on Meanwood's housing market,” says Mark, who adds that between 2010 and 2012, Manning Stainton data showed the average price in Meanwood was £151,792 compared to the average Leeds house price of £158,799.
In 2018, the average house price in Meanwood stands at £210,467, 39 per cent higher than it was when Waitrose first opened.
As an area, it has significantly outperformed the rest of the Leeds market and a property in Meanwood now costs 11 per cent more than the average Leeds house, which is £203,185.
It is a clear demonstration of how a changing high street affects the local property market.
Manning Stainton say that prices in nearby Oakwood, which has also seen major changes to its high street in recent years, have also grown, though by a little less than the Leeds average.
It's still one to watch, according to Mark, who says: “The average house price in Oakwood was already high due to good local schools, which have been an attraction for many years. “However, the changes to its high street are more recent than Meanwood's so I think we'll see bigger price rises in Oakwood over the next few years. It's an area that definitely has more to give.”
As for other up-and-coming areas in Leeds, he points to Pudsey, Crossgates, Farsley and Kirkstall.
“Pudsey hasn't achieved consistent growth with the rest of the market but I think that's about to change. We are starting to see the emergence of some really cool new bars and, given its good schooling and connections to the city, it won't be long before we see it start to soar in popularity.
“Crossgates has lots of new offerings popping up on the high street and the arrival of The Springs retail destination in Thorpe Park is also a big win for the area.
“Farsley is also one to watch, as new places are starting to open and it's got a great buzz about it at the moment.”
The big boost for Kirkstall is a new train station at Kirkstall Forge. Trains from here get you into the city centre within ten minutes.
The old forge site is also being reborn as a super smart commercial and residential development by CEG.
The area has an Aldi, Morrisons, an M&S food hall, along with some new independent restaurants and bars.
Manning Stainton say Kirkstall price growth has out-performed the Leeds average and average house prices in the suburb are 31 per cent up from £130,688 in 2012 to £171,469 in 2018.
“I think the area has huge potential to be a star of the future, especially with Kirkstall Forge and the new investment that will bring,” says Mark, who thinks smaller, suburban high streets will buck the trend towards decline.
“Having everything you need on your doorstep makes life easier and, as more of us work flexible hours and work from home, local high streets will become more important for those who choose to work from their local coffee shop and shop locally in their lunch hour.”
To support this idea, Manning Stainton is launching a new LocalCard scheme for its customers, which showcases what's available on their doorsteps and encourages them to shop local with exclusive discounts and offers.