People have been moving from London to live in this Sheffield village since the pandemic hit – and this is why
When a remarkable Spanish-style villa with magnificent arches, balconies and a swimming pool went on sale in Sheffield just before Christmas, it spent a mere five weeks on the market before being snapped up despite having an asking price of nearly £1.3 million.
And the speedy purchase of this extraordinary address, reminiscent of a seaside mansion in a Costa Del Sol travel guide, could mostly be attributed to one important factor – its location on Ashfurlong Road in the pretty suburb of Dore, says Luke Williams, city property expert for estate agent Purplebricks which marketed the residence.
“You sometimes see houses at that price take a bit longer to sell because your market pool is a lot smaller but it went really quickly,” he says. “They had five or six offers on it and 20 viewings. Even at that bracket it's still a popular area.”
This large village on the south-western edge of Sheffield – where the Dore Stone, a hefty gritstone monolith, stands prominently on the carefully-tended village green marking the place where King Ecgbert became the first ruler of all England in AD 829 – has long been considered one of the city’s most sought-after neighbourhoods, a status that shows no sign of waning.
“The thing is with Dore, there are a lot of people who aspire to live there as an end goal,” says Luke. “You also get a lot of people who are maybe not from Sheffield but have been brought to the city for work – whether that's football, or there's a business that they're a new director of. It's kind of the number one affluent area in Sheffield, really.”
He says three and four-bedroom detached houses are in particularly high demand locally.
“They are few and far between coming on the market. Once people are in Dore, they tend not to move until they're old and downsizing. There's a bit of a housing shortage really. But that's the case across most of south-west Sheffield.”
Dore has moved even higher up home buyers’ wish lists since the pandemic hit, Luke has noticed. “A lot of people's priorities in what they're looking for in a house have slightly changed. They're looking for more living space for their family, potentially an extra bedroom for a kids' playroom or home office, and then a big one now is more outdoor space. The other one is the schools, Dore Primary and King Ecgbert.”
There is a ‘nice village feel’ to the community, Luke thinks, and the crime rate is low, with the recent shooting on Dore Road being an exceptionally rare incident.
“There's a lot of like-minded people there,” he says. “It's got numerous pubs, shops, a Co-op, a doctor's surgery – it's got everything you need, but it's also commutable to the city centre. A big one a lot of people like is it's literally walking distance straight into the Peak District.”
Tempted by Dore’s park and ride railway station, and prompted by the increased shift towards home working, people from London and the south have even been moving to the area.
“Some people have relocated to other jobs up here but quite a lot have not got to be in the actual city as much,” Luke explains.
“If they only need to be down in London one or two days a week, they can get the train directly down there. They're saving themselves a fortune in the cost of housing in comparison. They're getting a lot more for their money. I speak to a lot of people who say getting to Manchester is another reason they want to be close to that station, whether they work there or it's just for social purposes.”
Janet Ridler, a historian and longstanding Dore resident, says the place ‘retains its village identity and has a strong sense of community and tradition’.
“Residents are proud of its ancient history: ‘Dore’ means gateway, and in Saxon times the village marked the boundary between the ancient kingdoms of Northumbria and Wessex,” says Janet, who has created a virtual tour exploring Dore’s heritage.
“Dore is well served by schools, shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants, all located in the centre of the village,” Janet says. “Community groups and organisations flourish, and the Dore Village Society plays a key role in many aspects of village life. Dore’s unique location is within easy reach of Sheffield’s vibrant city centre, and yet lies just a five-minute walk away from the magnificent moorland landscape of the Blacka Moor nature reserve.
“It’s not surprising that Dore is a popular place to live for people of all ages.”
Three-bed semi-detached properties in Dore currently sell for ‘around £400,000 at least’, says Luke.
“You've got a massive spectrum in Dore, all the way up to million pound plus houses. Even your apartments are fairly expensive, I'm just about to put one on the market which is £280,000.”
The village – part of Derbyshire until 1934 – is also surrounded by Green Belt land, which puts constraints on new development. Planning applications are scrutinised closely by the Dore Village Society, which lays claim to being the biggest neighbourhood forum in the country with hundreds of members and a 60-year history.
"It tends to be pocket developments that happen – just a few executive houses at a time,” says Luke. “You don't tend to see big housing estates going up round there because there's not the space.”