One-on-one interview: Toby Cockcroft of Croft Residential
Marc Da Silva’s ongoing series of interview with important figures in the property industry continues as his focus moves to Yorkshire, as he poses the questions to Toby Cockcroft of estate agent Croft Residential.
What makes Yorkshire a great place to live?
Yorkshire is an incredibly beautiful region, with its moors, dales and coastline providing some of the most amazing countryside to be found anywhere in England. Put that together with a vast array of interesting towns, cities and villages; some astonishing buildings such as York Minster and Castle Howard; great schools and brilliant pubs and you start to see how Yorkshire has earned the title ‘God’s own country’.
Where in Yorkshire does your firm offer properties for sale and to let?
Croft Residential covers an area dominated by North Yorkshire and York city centre. We have also sold the more exclusive properties of West Yorkshire and up into the North East. Helmsley, Malton, Easingwold and Harrogate are also key areas for us.
What is local housing market conditions currently like?
On the whole the market is very strong. York city centre is particularly buoyant at present with strong demand from both regional and international buyers, and villages on the outskirts of the main hotspots are also seeing and upsurge in demand with a resulting rise in prices that is outperforming other areas of the country.
Where would you say is the most desirable place to buy and rent property locally?
Based on all the properties we have sold I would say that anywhere in York city centre - the area that is enclosed by the ancient city walls – or along the banks of the River Ouse, are extremely popular. So too are those areas that are close to some of Yorkshire’s top schools such as Cundall Manor, Queen Ethelburga’s, Queen Mary’s or Ampleforth College. These places also often have railway stations nearby with rail links to York and Leeds, which put the whole country within easy reach and make London accessible within two hours.
What impact have last year’s stamp duty changes had on the local property market?
We have not seen much impact at our end of the market, where buying a property tends to be an aspirational purchase and stamp duty is just one of the costs to be factored in. At the bottom end of the market the changes to stamp duty have undoubtedly had a positive effect.
Have you noticed any particular buying trends recently?
In the last six months we have seen very strong demand and increased activity in the upper reaches of the market - large country house estates – as well as a frenetic pace of buying and selling within York’s city walls and along its riverside. The York property market is attracting people who are looking to relocate, often from London, and want to be within walking distance of great schools such as St Peter’s or Bootham.
What’s your property market prediction in the near future?
Over the next six to nine months I’d say the market’s likely to remain positive, but with a note of caution over the residual underlying uncertainty about what will happen to interest rates.