The only question from those who know and love the town was “what took them so long to recognise the many attributes of this practically perfect part of Yorkshire?”
The only failing of this fabulous town is that house prices are well out of reach of the average first time buyer.
According to the latest Rightmove, the average price of a home in Ilkley is £460,551 with terraced houses selling for an average of £399,990, flats is £268,946 and detached homes for £765,739.
The chronic shortage of properties on the market continues to push up prices and sees homes for sale snapped up quickly, often by cash buyers determined to buy into this small town blessed with an enviable amount of amenities.
Surrounded by spectacular moorland immortalised in the song “On Ilkla Moor Baht’at”, Ilkley’s riverside is equally attractive.
The schools are good and include Ilkley Grammar, one of the best comprehensive schools in the North of England. The town also has an indoor swimming pool and a lido, along with a number of sports clubs.
It is a shopping mecca with a mix of high street and independent shops plus two supermarkets and plenty of cafes and restaurants.
When it comes to the arts, Ilkley has a thriving theatre scene and an independent cinema.
The Dales are a short drive away but it is the station with links to Bradford and to Leeds with its London bound trains that seal the deal for many buyers.
Patrick McCutcheon, Head of Residential at Dacre, Son & Hartley, says: “The market has been running at full pelt here for the past couple of years.
“We recently launched a house for £1.25m at 10.30am and by 11.30am we already had six viewings booked in.
“We have seen a lot of would-be buyers from the South East, often with a Yorkshire connection, who are looking for a lifestyle change. Most are buying for the medium to long term.”
Patrick adds that people generally live in the prime properties for an average of 20 to 30 years, which is why there is a shortage of them for sale.
“When people move, it’s generally to upsize and downsize within Ilkley because it’s almost impossible to find anywhere better,” he says.
His advice for first time buyers is to look at nearby Silsden, Sutton in Craven, Otley, Cross Hills and Baildon where house prices are lower.
Lester Hurst of Hunters estate agents in Ilkley says prices in the town have risen by 25 per cent since the start of the pandemic amid plummeting stock levels.
“Would-be sellers in Ilkley are waiting for the right house to come along before they put theirs on the market, which is the wrong way of doing it because this is the best time to sell.
“There are a lot of off-market sales leaving an average of just two houses coming up on the open market each week in Ilkley with at least 12 buyers for each one.”
Lester adds that the lettings market is equally “mad” with a two-bedroom terraced house recently let for £1,150 per month.
He makes the observation: “Ilkley is the end of the line for most people. It’s where they stay forever.”