A popular North Yorkshire spa town has bucked the national trend in house prices following a 9% rise over the last year, according to a North Yorkshire House Price Index, which has been compiled by the county’s leading property buying agency.

The Search Partnership has been analysing the average price paid per square foot recorded by the Land Registry throughout six key areas for the last five years, focussing on Thirsk, Ripon, Boroughbridge, Harrogate, Wetherby and Bedale.  The research applies to detached houses across the region.

Over the last 12 months Harrogate has been the star performer with prices of houses in the town rising by an average of 9% over the last year, higher than any other part of North Yorkshire, according to the newly released house price index.

Director Tom Robinson, from The Search Partnership, said: “On average, over the last 12 months, prices have remained almost exactly level across North Yorkshire.  The average price per sq.ft. for all houses analysed across North Yorkshire shows a very small reduction of -0.1%.  The average price per sq.ft. paid has remained flat at £298 per sq.ft over a 24 month period.  However, there are some very interesting regional differences across the county.”

The figures show that Harrogate has come through what has been an uncertain period for property very strongly.  Tom added: “We analyse sales in popular parts of the town and the index shows an average of £418 per sq.ft. which is the highest of all areas studied.  Historically the town has attracted wealthy buyers due to its wide range of attractions and we are unsurprised to see this trend continue.

“It’s mainly families that are moving to Harrogate attracted by the jobs and education on offer. The appeal of the spa town, with its 200-acre Stray at its heart, never really wains. Excellent state and public schools, a good mix of high street and independent shops, plenty of restaurants, hotels and businesses with their headquarters in the town, all combine to make Harrogate a property hotspot.”

Harrogate is often described a one as one of the happiest places to live. With low crime rates, easily commutable for Leeds and York and there are several train stations which connect to the cities providing direct trains to London Kings Cross.

Tom said: “The bigger family homes are the most popular and those situated in the Duchy and Saints area of town continue to command the highest price tags and are the most desirable. Distinguished homes with character, as well as grand-design style new builds, where demolished older properties used to sit in bigger plots, also attract plenty of buyers. Homes with decent sized gardens always sell well, as do those with views across The Stray and homes within walking distance of Harrogate Grammar, Ashville and Harrogate Ladies College.

“Harrogate’s popularity and consistent shortage of supply over the last two to three years, has of course driven demand. The original golden triangle was traditionally the area between Harrogate, York and North Leeds.  Market conditions over the last two years have seen the creation of a new golden triangle, which encompasses the area between Masham, Leyburn and Bedale where demand has consistently been strong.

“Buyers are also looking towards the lower Hambleton Hills with villages like Coxwold and Felixkirk really holding their own – especially if they have a pub, which is often high on buyers’ wish lists.”

Fellow Search Partnership Director, Toby Milbank, continued: “The last time we carried out our research in the Spring of 2018, Bedale was the area of highest growth with a 17% increase.  However, average sale prices in this area have slowed considerably and are showing a 12% reduction over the last 12 months.”

The areas surrounding Thirsk, Ripon, Boroughbridge and Wetherby have all remained broadly flat over the last year; mirroring the regional performance.

Toby added: “Our Index tracks the trends in actual prices paid, rather than guide prices or advertised prices, so it is a very accurate barometer of the local market, as well as a great way to pinpoint how specific locations are performing.

“This time a year ago, we predicted nominal price growth of 1% for the year which was slightly optimistic, as prices have essentially stayed static across North Yorkshire as a whole.

“There are pressures on the housing market from all angles. Stamp duty is punitive, town centre shop closures reduce demand for local housing and buyers still have to consider the ongoing threat of interest rate rises.  As much as we would prefer to complete our research without mentioning the “B” word, leaving Europe with the perceived threat to businesses, trade and ongoing political uncertainty has caused buyers to think long and hard before making the decision to move house.  With this in mind, we predict 12 months of minimal growth across North Yorkshire in 2019.”

Tom concluded: “Despite the shortage of stock there are still some good buys to be had if buyers look hard enough and extend their geographical brief beyond Harrogate.  We would echo the sentiments of the selling agents in the region and would encourage people to beat the post Brexit rush and get on with selling now. We have a full list of clients from across the UK and beyond looking to buy, and as prices have held firm, it would be advantageous to bring a property to the market; there are plenty of buyers ready and willing to make the move now.”