The property hotspot whose unofficial borders take in Harrogate, York and north Leeds, is revealed to be just one of nearly 20 disparate parts of the county, in all three of the old Ridings, that have become magnets for the upwardly mobile.
A set of figures from the Halifax, published today, identifies Guisborough, at the top of the North York Moors, and Marsden, a self-styled Pennine “poetry village” with its own jazz festival, as the most affordable of the new honeypots.
At the other end of the scale, Wetherby, in the centre of the Golden Triangle, is named as the town that commands the highest premium on its house prices.
The common component is the presence of a street market, whose canvas-topped stalls are catnip to buyers, researchers say.
In Wetherby’s case, househunters can expect to pay more than double the average price in the rest of West Yorkshire.
The typical property value there is £363,000, compared with £184,000 in the county as a whole. The figure has risen by 23 per cent in the last decade.
It makes Wetherby’s market the third most valuable in the country, with only the Home Counties hotspots of Beaconsfield and Henley-on-Thames – where a typical home is more than £1m – rated higher.
On average, market towns command a premium of £41,000, the Halifax found. Such is their appeal that, over the past five years, house prices have increased by an average of £915 a month, it said.
Andrew Mason, mortgages product director at Lloyds, which owns the Halifax, said the figures proved that quality of life was as valuable a commodity in the North as in the South.
He said: “Some of England’s most attractive towns, and crucially more affordable homes, reside in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and the North, where homebuyers can attain the charm of a market town for around a £100,000 saving over the average house price in the country.
“For home buyers looking for market charm, but not necessarily needing to commute to London, the most affordable towns are in Yorkshire and the North.”
Besides Wetherby, Marsden and Guisborough, the bank’s full list of sought-after market towns in the region takes in Driffield, Easingwold, Beverley, Northallerton, Holmfirth, Helmsley, Hawes, Silsden, Thirsk, Goole, Tadcaster, Pickering, Ripon, Skipton, Selby and Immingham.
The findings were seen in the business community as a validation of the county’s virtues.
Mike Cartwright, of the West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “When you have the likes of Wetherby and Easingwold being just a 20-30 minute drive from Leeds and York, it makes it easier to sell Yorkshire as a great place to visit, live and work.
“The market towns also make a vital contribution to the regional economy, showing that we are not reliant on professional services or manufacturing, important though they are, but that we have a diverse, eclectic economy, and that should be celebrated.”