Hot Spot: Bradford, W Yorks

Good schools and a ripple effect from nearby prosperous Leeds put this former wool town in the up-and-coming bracket, says Robert Liebman
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Postcode poker is played for real in Bradford. "Two identical three-bed terraces may be only 200 yards apart, but if one has a BD postcode and the other has LS, the Bradford house could cost £50,000 less than the one linked with Leeds," says Richard Hartley of agents Stepping Stones.

Postcode poker is played for real in Bradford. "Two identical three-bed terraces may be only 200 yards apart, but if one has a BD postcode and the other has LS, the Bradford house could cost £50,000 less than the one linked with Leeds," says Richard Hartley of agents Stepping Stones.

With Bradford and Leeds only 10 miles apart, ripples from the former reach the latter very rapidly, and Leeds has been generating tidal waves. "Three years ago we had properties on our books selling for £10,000, and now I don't think we have anything less than £60,000," Hartley adds.

"Our market is on the up, still strong, fed by prices that have gone through the roof in Leeds and also in Huddersfield, Halifax and Manchester. First-time buyers from Manchester find it cheaper to buy a house here and commute."

Although prices have soared, Hartley believes that they have yet to peak, thanks to parallel rises in the pricier neighbours. "The four-bed detached house that costs £300,000 here would cost £600,000 for its equivalent in Leeds," he notes.

The comparatively low prices attract families as well as first-time buyers and investors, primarily to the suburbs and villages rather than the city centre. Demand should remain strong while these price differentials endure.

Chris Stonock, the regional manager of Halifax Estate Agency says: "The average house price in Bradford is £94,124. Families are attracted to the suburban school catchment areas of Clayton, Queensbury and Thornton, where houses sell for premium prices. There is also increased interest from families in the more rural areas of Baildon, Bingley and Shipley. "The new Bingley bypass has made this area more desirable and Bingley remains buoyant. Demand is strong in all areas."

And for those with a taste for good food, you can't do better than Bradford for Britain's favourite dish, the curry.

THE LOW-DOWN

Getting there

The main train station serves Leeds - journey time 12 minutes - for connections elsewhere, and the old Foster Square station links with local suburbs such as Shipley and Bingley as well as York.

History

The industrial revolution transformed Bradford from a small market town - wool spinning and cloth weaving in cottages and farms - to a major centre with nearly 40 worsted mills processing more than half of the country's wool. The architectural legacy includes the gothic Town Hall, with its majestic clock tower, and the Wool Exchange, now one of the world's most ornate book stores.

Attractions

The main museums are the Colour Museum (Europe's only institution dedicated to the history, development and technology of colour), the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, and the Industrial Museum and Horses at Work. Three galleries house the largest collection of Bradford-born David Hockney's work. Now a suburb, Thornton contains the Brontë Birthplace where Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne were born. The Haworth parsonage is about 15 miles west.

Prices

Currently available at Whitegates are properties between £40,000 and £300,000. On the lower end, houses, some of which are back to backs, start at between £40,000 and £50,000. Outside Bradford in Manningham, a one-bed, Grade-II listed "through by light" cottage - the rear wall contains a window but no door - is £49,995. A modern, stone-built, five-bed house (1755 sq ft) with integral garage is c.£320,000, from Carter Jonas.

Conversions

In Broadgate House, a large former mill, one-bed flats are on offer for £104,995; two-bed for £133,995. In Byron Halls, a large ornate former school, two-bed duplexes are £149,500, from Whitegates.

Equestrian

Mutton Pitts Barn is a stone-built four-bed house with conservatory and private garden on 2.5 acres, c.£400,000 at Renton. Copley House Farm in East Bierley is a three-reception three-bed house with conservatory and large gardens on about seven acres; c.£600,000 at Stepping Stones. In Gomersal, seven miles from Bradford, Firdene encompasses a six-bed house with an indoor swimming pool, three garages for seven cars, and a stable with room for two horses, on about four acres of land; the guide price is £1m at Strutt & Parker.

Making plans

A five-bed semi-detached chalet bungalow has planning permission for a three-bed detached house in the garden, £249,995, Whitegates. A listed three-bed farmhouse with four barns and planning consent for five individual units in Cookridge seven miles from Bradford, c.£900,000, Strutt & Parker.

New

McCarthy & Stone has one and two bedroom Assisted Living apartments in Bingley, from £135,950 or £183,950 for one or two bedrooms; 01274 565202. Redrow's 130-unit Apperley Court has flats and townhouse with car parking, from £122,995 for one bedroom, 01274 618390.

Estate agents

Carter Jonas, 01484 842105; Renton and Renton 01274 394122; Stepping Stones, 01274 817755; Strutt & Parker, 01423 561274; Whitegates, 01274 306611.

Comments