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Why Yorkshire is now a magnet for homebuyers looking for a better life

Lockdown is prompting more people to migrate north to Yorkshire and who can blame them?

Leaving London for Yorkshire has been on Phil Smith’s mind for a while but lockdown has given him the fire power he needed. The top financial services firm that employs him was not inclined to allow home-working but when it became a necessity, staff proved that it was spectacularly effective.

Phil, 47, is now planning to ask his boss if he can work from home permanently with occasional trips to head office. This would enable him, his wife and his children, to live in or around York, 230 miles away from the capital.

“We have proved we can work globally, with meetings via video, and we can also work better from home,” says Phil, who grew up in Yorkshire before moving to London after university.

“The advantage of being in York is better air quality, better secondary schools, access to green space and the fact that we will be able to buy a bigger house. The hour-long commute into the office would be a thing of the past and if I need to go to London then the train from York only takes two hours.”

Phil is not alone in his ambition. Research by Trussle Mortgages shows that Yorkshire is number four in the top 10 list of places to relocate to as people consider life after lockdown. More space, countryside, living by the sea and being closer to woodlands are top of the agenda for house hunters. Cornwall is the most popular destination when it comes to relocation, followed by Devon and the Lake District.

Edward Hartshorne, managing director of Blenkin and Co. estate agency, who is helping Phil find an ideal home, says that while York is a hotspot for those relocating from London thanks to its amenities, Thirsk and its surrounding villages are also on the radar.

“Word has spread that the train from Thirsk to York takes 20 minutes and from there you get the train to London and that’s the appeal,” says Edward, who adds that it’s not just those from London and the South East heading to God’s own county, expats are also returning, including some from Dubai, where lockdown in apartments has proved challenging.

Property in Yorkshire’s golden triangle hotspots are more pricey but they are a prime target for buyers. Tony Wright, head of residential at Carter Jonas, Harrogate, says: “Lockdown has created pent-up demand and we have hit the ground running with interest from inside Yorkshire and beyond. The villages surrounding Harrogate are now very popular as people have realised that they would like bigger gardens and easy access to countryside.”

Those who want to view a home for sale are finding it relatively easy, according to Tony, who adds: “Most people are happy to let buyers in to view as long as they adhere to the rules.”

While moving lock, stock and barrel to Yorkshire looks set to become more common, estate agent Simon Blyth believes another trend will emerge. “We are seeing a rise in enquiries for properties in a rural setting that have good commutability and for homes with good-sized gardens. There are people who are preparing themselves for something like Covid-19 happening again.

I think we will also see people swapping their holiday homes in Portugal and Spain for a second home in Yorkshire. It makes sense and with home-working more common, you could split your time between a city and a cottage here. You would get more use from it too so it would be a better investment.”


Source: Yorkshire Post