Spa town’s star rises in world of posh homes

IT HAS long been known for its place in the Golden Triangle of property in Yorkshire.

Estate Agent Tony Wright from Carter Jonas Estate Agents Harrogate is pictured by a property in Harrogate. (Picture: by Simon Hulme)

And now Harrogate’s prominence in the housing market has seen it ranked as the seventh most expensive area outside of southern England, with an average price of £2,196 per square metre of property. It is closely followed by York which is tenth, with an average cost of £2,024 per square metre.

The table has been drawn up by the Halifax banking chain and shows how fast prices are rising, especially in London. In Kensington and Chelsea, £11,635 would be needed to buy just one square metre of property.

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The London borough has been named as Britain’s most expensive place for property on a square metre basis, costing nearly six times the national average of £2,033. The borough is the only place in Britain with an average price above £10,000 per square metre, with Westminster next highest at £9,571. The top 10 most expensive areas are all in London.

This is the house that is thought to be the most expensive ever to go on the open market in the UK. 15a Kensington Palace Gardens has a price of £35 million for a 99 year lease. The house dates from 1854, and has 10 bedrooms, nine bathrooms, four reception rooms, staff quarters and parking for up to eight cars.

Outside southern England, Altrincham in Cheshire tops the list, with properties costing £2,446 per square metre. Harrogate features in the top 10 alongside Edinburgh, Leamington Spa and Warwick.

Carter Jonas partner Tony Wright, who heads the residential agency team in Harrogate, said: “It’s a very buoyant market and there seems to be quite a lot of demand in the greater Harrogate area.

“The town is doing extremely well at the moment. It has a lovely ambience and good shops, cafés, restaurants and everything you could want. In terms of places where people want to live, it’s in the Premier League. I think Harrogate will always out-perform other areas on the basis of demand. It has always been a popular place.

“People always seem to want to live in Harrogate, and it’s a bit like bees to a honey pot. With everything Harrogate has to offer, this table doesn’t surprise me.”

The York city walls, with York Minster as a backdrop.

Halifax’s research showed that house prices per square metre nationally have surged by 18 per cent since 2010.

Greater London has experienced substantially faster growth than elsewhere in Britain, with an average increase of 45 per cent, and Hackney seeing a leap of 71 per cent.

At the other end of the scale, homebuyers looking for a bargain would be best off considering Aberdare in South Wales, where property costs on average £910 per square metre.

Second in the top 10 list of cheapest places is Wishaw in Scotland, and Accrington and Blackpool are also included. Scunthorpe is the ninth least expensive area nationally, with square metre prices at an average of £1,022. Regionally, the average price per square metre in London is £4,426, ahead of the South-East, at £2,681, and East Anglia, at £1,835.

Yorkshire and the Humber is the third least expensive region in the country, with an average cost of £1,410 per square metre, up nine per cent in five years.

Halifax made its calculations by looking at average house prices across 331 towns, using its database, and dividing these by typical property sizes, to reach an average price per square metre.

The firm’s mortgages director Craig McKinlay said measuring house prices per square metre was a “useful measure” for comparisons as it adjusted for differences in the size of properties between locations.

He added: “There’s been a clear widening in the gap between southern England, particularly London, and the rest of the country over the past 20 years – a trend that has continued over the past five years.”