Last weekend’s Yorkshire Post reported that coastal estate agents were experiencing a surge in interest from Britain’s new army of home workers. As companies, and workers, readjust in the wake of the Covid pandemic, many employers are looking to downsize from expensive city centre office blocks, while the employees enjoyed the flexibility offered by home working.
Whitby in particular is said to be the destination of choice for home workers and apparently interest has come from near and far, with even currently London-based office workers pondering relocating to the famous Yorkshire town.
Could Filey cash in on this property boom and what are this new army of workers looking for from potential destinations. The main factors appear to be the following:
- Broadband speed: Apparently the maximum average speed available within a 5 mile radius of Filey is 67Mbps. A recent Ofcom report states that this is above the national average of 64Mbps. The situation is set to improve as Superfast Broadband, a project led by North Yorkshire County Council is rolled out across the town.
- Schooling: Vitally important to those considering relocating their entire family to a new area. Filey’s results here are mixed, with Filey Church of England Nursery and Infants Academy receiving a ‘Good’ from an Ofsted inspection in January 2020, at upper school level, the Ebor Academy was inspected by Ofsted in 2018 and received a ‘Requires Improvement’ grading. Of course, there are several schools that have received the highest rating from Ofsted that are directly linked by school buses or are within an easy travel.
- Transport: A very mixed bag. The rail link has improved markedly in recent years, with an hourly service between Scarborough and Hull (the latter with direct trains to London), but connections and facilities at Seamer could be better. Services from Seamer itself are excellent and have made huge strides as regards punctuality, which fell to a miserable low in 2018. But, new trains and an improved timetable bodes well. By road, the extension of the A64 dual carriageways seems as distant as ever. The section between the Hopgrove roundabout and Barton Hill has been scheduled for the period 2025-30, but beyond that nothing is likely to happen within a decade. Parking in Filey remains a major problem, particularly in the summer months. The town is the only resort on the coast without any real parking restrictions and the result is heavily congested streets, as holiday makers hunt for free parking on residential streets. The issue is off-putting for potential homeowners, they will probably take their investment elsewhere if they cannot have at least a fair chance of finding a parking place. The town needs to put its residents before visitors if house prices are to reach their potential.
- Affordability: According to the property website Rightmove, properties in Filey had an overall average price of £155,374 over the last year. The majority of sales in Filey during the last year were terraced properties, selling for an average price of £144,266. Flats sold for an average of £111,366, with semi-detached properties fetching £148,660. Overall, sold prices in Filey over the last year were 6% down on the previous year and 3% down on the 2015 peak of £159,986. This is far behind Whitby with an average of £194,501 and Scarborough £163,619. Of course, this is a double-edged sword, lower house prices offers affordability, but one has to ask why are prices lower in Filey? ‘Comparisons are odious’ goes the old saying, and indeed the housing markets in Whitby, Scarborough and Filey have significant differences, but Filey clearly needs to undertake some clear thinking as to why it might be underperforming.
- Environment: Here Filey scores highly, with its award winning beach and wide open spaces. Traffic can be heavy, and unpleasant, around the bus station and supermarket, but otherwise the town avoids the congestion familiar to most large towns and cities in the country. The bathing water in the Bay is currently rated as good, it was downgraded from excellent following heavy rains a couple of years ago and is expected to return to excellent in the near future. The town is relatively litter free thanks to the efforts of Scarborough Borough Council and the volunteers of Keep Filey Tidy.
Undoubtedly, there are many other factors that we have overlooked and in a short article we can only touch on issues that are often multi-faceted. However, we hope to inspire a debate and debates that might lead to improvements to our already lovely town.