‘The Morley mentality’: Houses being snapped up in 24 hours as community pride draws people to south Leeds
Nestled on the south west outskirts of Leeds, Morley is much more than your average Leeds suburb.
The historic area, which was mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book, was only incorporated into Leeds in 1972, and until then was a proud independent market town.
It still retains that independent spirit to this day, with a strong sense of pride and community among those that live in the area, even once being dubbed the “England's most patriotic town” by the BBC for its annual St George’s Parade.
This sense of neighbourhood and identity is just one of the factors that are drawing potential homeowners to the area and nearby Gildersome village.
“There's a real community spirit in Morley”, explains Gavin Townsend, of the Dacre, Son & Hartley Morley branch.
“When people move into the area for the first time having come from other parts of Leeds, I think they are surprised.
“But once they get into what I would class as the Morley mentality, they just love it.”
Mr Townsend added: “Morley's very insular, so people who have been born and brought up here don't tend to leave the area, they want to buy houses.
“That's particularly true of Gildersome and Driglington, but also Morley as the wider area.
“Then you get people who have not got much experience of Morley, but they come and we don't just sell them the house we explain everything that Morley offers.
“It's recognised as among the best St George's Parade in the country and we do various town centre events like the big screen cinemas that normally run twice a year.
“There are so many events taking place in Morley town centre, that it's just a really nice place to live.
“It's a friendly town. It's got a lot of the old traditional pubs, but it's got a lot of the newer style wine bars as well.
“Coupled with that it has outstanding schools, excellent sports clubs and tremendous community and transport links.
“It offers something for everyone.”
As well as its many independent pubs, bars and restaurants, it also has a thriving high street.
The town is centred around Queen Street which is home to Morley Town Hall, as well as having all the amenities a family needs, including a Morrisons store and traditional indoor market.
Nearby is Morley leisure centre. as well as other green spaces and parks for the town's many sporting clubs such as Morley Town AFC and Morley Rugby Union Football Club to use.
Transport is another benefit to the area, being situated just a short drive to the M62 and M621 motorways, offering direct routes across West Yorkshire and to Manchester.
For commuters using public transport, the area is served by Morley railway station with direct trains to Leeds and Huddersfield, as well as plenty of bus services into the city centre as well as to Bradford and Wakefield.
However, one key factor that drives buyers to the area is value for money, with average house prices being £189,216, according to the latest data from the HM Land Registry.
“The property prices in LS27 are very competitive”, Mr Townsend explains.
“In south Leeds, you get a lot more for your money than you do in most of the Leeds postal areas.
“But if you start looking at other south Leeds areas, Morley is the most attractive option out of all of those.”
This affordability has played a big factor during the pandemic, as people looked to move away from city centres and into homes that offered more space for work and home-schooling.
Mr Townsend said: “During the pandemic, people got a bigger awareness now of properties that offer the ability to work from home.
“This has really driven the market upwards because people who've lived in the smaller houses have maybe not considered moving but then lockdown came along and they needed to work from home.
“So they've actively looked for a property that allows that which then enables them to sell their house back to a first time buyer.
“That impetus has driven the market to a being a seller's market where property prices have gone up probably more in the last 12 months than at any other time since 2007.”
He added: “There's never been, that I know of a time like this, certainly since 2007 in the property market, where you've just got demand, outstripping the amount of houses which are coming to market.
“We are oversubscribed for people who are wanting to buy houses, particularly first time buyers.
“We've recently released two properties £135,000 pounds, and they went within the first 24 hours, with a huge amount of people both wanting to view and wanting to make an offer on the property.
“To give you an example, on Monday, this week, I launched a first time buyers property, 135,000 pounds. by Tuesday, we've stopped taking viewings.
“Anything up to about £175,000-£180,000 is just being snapped up as fast as possible. In some instances, if people don't react quickly, they're not getting the chance to see the properties.
“That's why I always suggest that you register with an estate agent so you get some details of the properties first.
“It's just demand which is totally outstripping is the best time ever for people to sell.“
Dacre, Son & Hartley. which was founded in Bramhope in 1847, has 20 sites across West and North Yorkshire, including two successful franchised branches in Morley and Elland.
Following the success of the Morley and Elland branches, the firm now plans to grow its franchise network further across the north of England, after partnering with Ilkley-based business Accentia Franchise Consultants.
Accentia Franchise Consultants will work to guide the estate agent through the expansion, as well as identifying potential franchisees.
Paul Mitchel, from Accentia Franchise Consultants, said: “This is a great collaboration for two Yorkshire born businesses that are both headquartered in Ilkley.
"Dacre, Son & Hartley is a leading name in Yorkshire’s property market and there’s no doubt this is an exciting opportunity for aspiring estate agents who want to be part of a business that has stood the test of time over the last 200 years.”