Estate agency abounds with tales of woe surrounding the Brexit effect, which has led to a paucity of property for sale as would-be buyers and sellers stay put so they can “wait and see what happens.”
This approach is crippling the industry but there is a startling exception where it’s business as usual thanks to a determination to“keep calm and carry on”.
Wakefield, where 66.4 per cent of voters supported Brexit, is not getting its knickers in a twist.
The “Wakey” way
“Brexit hasn’t touched us and that’s because people here are saying ‘let’s just crack on’. They aren’t putting their lives on hold. They are buying and selling homes and carrying on regardless.(Read more: 2019 forecast for Yorkshire house prices)
“In fact, we are busier this year than we were last year,” says Claire Kendall, who is head of the sales department at well-known family firm, Richard Kendall estate agents.
She can back this up with figures. They show that Kendall’s had 100 more people booked to view property last week than in the same week last year.
“Confidence is high and the market is very active with everyone from first-time buyers to families and people looking for high end homes.
“We also have plenty of investors who are cash buyers,” says Claire.
Developers target the city
Chris Appleton, manager of Manning Stainton’s Wakefield branch says that big-name housebuilders, including Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon, Bellway, Miller, Strata and Redrow, are very active in the area.
“This type of investment is always a good indicator of a strong and robust property market,” says Chris.
Developers are impressed with land values and Wakefield railway station with its services to Leeds and London and easy road access onto the M1 and M62.
The cathedral city also has some good private and state schools.
While its central shopping area has suffered decline, retail units are being replaced by independent bars, cafes, restaurants and delis.
The heart of Wakefield has also benefited from The Hepworth gallery, which has brought kudos, exhibitions and events.
However, the gallery hasn’t had a huge impact on the number of outsiders moving into the area.
“Ninety per cent of sales are to local people, so only ten per cent of buyers come from outside the area and this makes for strong communities,” says Chris Appleton.
Prices in Wakefield start at about £80,000 for a two-bedroom terraced house in the lease sought-after areas to £140,000 in more desirable locations.
While attractive villages such as Sandal, Newmillerdam and Woolley command high prices, the hottest spots are on the north side of Wakefield, which is a 15-minute drive from central Leeds.
“The hotspots are the the WF2 and WF3 postcodes with the suburbs of Wrenthorpe, Kirkhamgate and Alverthorpe in WF2 and Lofthouse, East Ardsley and Stanley in WF3 all really popular and prices there are still affordable,” says Chris. “The average price of a semi-detached property in WF3 is £141,392.”
He adds that WF2 and WF3 also have good schools, which is fuelling interest from families.
Manning Stainton say that the Wakefield eastern relief road close to Stanley, which now connects areas such as Crofton with the city centre and M1, is a big draw.
“I expect these areas will only continue to grow in popularity,” says Chris, whose top tip for a future hotspot is Kirkhamgate.
“It’s a semi-rural, northern suburb with easy access into the city and Leeds, while also having a peaceful feel to it.”