More than a quarter of a million people have visited the Piece Hall in Halifax since it opened its enormous decorative doors on August 1.
Some of them have popped in to its only estate agency, Yorkshire’s Finest, unable to resist a “nosey” at the homes for sale in and around Halifax.
Those from outside the area have been pleasantly surprised at what’s on offer and window shopping has translated into viewings, which points to a Piece Hall effect on the local property market.
“We’ve had visitors from all around the UK and even overseas and the demographic is middle class, mainly higher ABC1,” says Yorkshire’s Finest co-founder Linden Thornton.
“I’ve spoken to lots of people who had never considered living in the area and they’re surprised at what you can get for your money. That has resulted in viewings, so I don’t think there’s any doubt that the Piece Hall will have an impact on the property market in Halifax and the rest of Calderdale,” says Linden, who took a punt when he decided to open a branch of Yorkshire’s Finest at the hall rather than on a traditional main street.
“We are the only estate agency in there but I knew it would be a perfect fit for our brand. Even so, I don’t think anyone involved realised how successful the Piece Hall would be in such a short space of time.”
The gargantuan grade I listed building, newly transformed by a £19m regeneration scheme, now boasts shops, offices, events, cafes and restaurants. Together with the neighbouring Square Chapel Arts Centre and library, it has created a vibrant new cultural quarter in Halifax.
The project has also prompted improvements to the town centre’s convoluted road system and there is a road widening scheme underway, which will help those accessing the town from Ainley Top. The town’s proximity to the M62 and a train station with links to Leeds and Manchester give Halifax excellent transport links.
Those tempted to relocate to the area will find terraced houses in Halifax from £40,000. This low entry price has attracted buy-to-let investors tempted by the prospect of high rental yields. In the sought-after suburb of Skircoat Green, expect to pay more than £100,000 for the smallest property and £250,000 for a period semi-detached house.
Savile Park, on the edge of the town centre, is also an upmarket hotspot popular with doctors from the nearby hospital and with managers at the Lloyds Banking Group head office. Prices start at about £100,000 for a Victorian terrace and up to £700,000 for an Edwardian villa.
Both these areas are in the catchment area for Crossley Heath School, a selective grammar.
“People are expressing surprise at the prices, especially visitors from down south. They can’t believe what they can get for their money here,” says Linden, who also encourages Piece Hall tourists to explore the wider Calderdale area.“They can see from the properties we have for sale that this area has stacks of historic houses and it is full of hidden gems.”
Hebden Bridge, Heptonstall, Warley, Ripponden, Barkisland, Greetland and Soyland are all popular.
Compared to Yorkshire’s golden triangle, they all offer good value. Places on the up include Sowerby Bridge, which sits between trendy Hebden Bridge and Halifax. It is by the canal and has the top-rated Gimbals restaurant. Terraced houses start at £70,000.