Ringing the Changes
Over the past 30 years York’s diverse housing stock has grown both within and surrounding its ancient city walls. Today, a vibrant and exciting city in which to live and work, there’s a wealth of residential properties from which to choose including Georgian townhouses, chic riverside residences, penthouses and all points in between.
A practising property lawyer in York since 1980 I have witnessed the many major changes in its residential property market. Available housing in the early 80s was, in the main, traditional Georgian and Victorian terraced houses and a stock of houses and bungalows built from the 1930s onwards in the suburbs of Dringhouses, Fulford, Heworth, Acomb and Clifton. Apart from the terraced properties in Bishophill there was little housing within York’s ancient city walls with large areas of the city centre devoted to small manufacturing enterprises such as wire works, carpentry workshops and riverside warehousing. This, however, was changing…
After the implementation of Lord Esher’s 1968 report recommending that more people should be living within the city walls, many industrial buildings were either converted or swept away. This resulted in the creation of the tranquil residential areas of Aldwark /St Andrewgate and vibrant developments beside the Ouse with their spectacular views over the city and its stunning Minster.
The 1970s and 80s construction of the southern and northern ring roads, together with the absorption of many outlying villages including Haxby, Wigginton, Huntington and Skelton into the City of York, offered yet more choice. Improvements to surface water drainage also saw private estates springing up on open space within the ring road and on former farming land around the villages offering an easy commute.
Development of brown field sites have provided a significant number of apartments, which are proving highly attractive to investor buyers looking for a second home or good income return from the rental market. A lively tourist and university city, York’s large rental market includes students, people who cannot afford or do not want to buy property and employees working on short term contracts.
York has also responded well in the provision of starter homes (many under shared ownership or buy/rent schemes) and social housing. There’s also housing with an element of assistance for the over 60’s including Hartrigg Oaks. This popular development created by the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust offers ownership combined with a care package providing support when needed.
Today, we anticipate and look forward to new developments for mixed use on the sites of the former Terry’s chocolate factory, British Sugar factory, Nestlé site and York Central; all of which will provide even more choice and a chance to ring the changes for us all – enjoy!