Posted by on 20 March 2014 in General

Historic West Yorkshire tax records reveal spike in property values over the past century.

New research has revealed that property values in West Yorkshire have almost quadrupled over the past century.

The findings, from Ancestry.co.uk, were uncovered within the newly digitised West Yorkshire, England, Tax Valuation, 1910 Collection. These 600,000 tax valuation records detail the name of occupant, location, type of building, property value and amount of duty paid.

In 1910, you could become a homeowner for the sum of £415, which is the equivalent of £41,396 today. Fast-forward 100 years and the average value of a house in West Yorkshire now stands at £154,256, an incredible increase of 272 per cent — even accounting for inflation.

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These turn-of-the-century property values were recorded thanks to Chancellor Lloyd George’s 1910 Finance Act. Before this law — designed to increase government tax revenues — there was no official system in place that recorded house values in the UK.

At that time, the Liberal government was determined to boost tax revenues to fund a programme of social reform, which included introducing national insurance, state pensions and free school meals. As such, every property was valued and the figure recorded so that when it was sold the government could take its cut, which in 1910 stood at 20 per cent of the profit.

On top of revealing the average house value at this time, the tax valuation records detail the surprisingly low value of some of West Yorkshire’s most famous sporting landmarks. Elland Road football ground, the home of Leeds United, is listed as being worth just £6,000 (only £600,000 today).

What about Valley Parade in Bradford? The records reveal that in 1910 the owners of Bradford City A.F.C were paying £338 per year to rent the ground (the equivalent of £33,715 today).

Headingley Stadium, home to Yorkshire County Cricket Club, is also listed at a value of £21,628 (£2,157,393 today). This entry for this property states that the overall value includes the adjacent “bowling club, lodge, stables and land”.

Sporting landmarks aside, the collection also details several celebrated Yorkshiremen:

  • Henry Lascelles (1882-1947) — The Earl of Harewood, Lascelles owned Harewood House near Leeds. This property is listed in the records with a value of £2,078 in 1910 (the equivalent of just £207,280 today).
  • John Priestley (1894-1984) — Famous novelist and author of The Good Companions, Priestley lived in a fairly modest property in Woodbank Place, Manningham. Somewhat surprisingly his property would only be worth the equivalent of £57,456 today.
  • Martin Hawke (1860-1938) — A former cricketer for Yorkshire and capped by England in five Test matches, Hawke became the 7th Baron Hawke and lived at Wighill Park in an extensive property worth the equivalent of £660,000 today.

The launch of the collection marks a collaboration between Ancestry.co.uk and the West Yorkshire Archive Service that will see millions of West Yorkshire records appear online (West Yorkshire residents can access this collection free of charge at all the offices of West Yorkshire Archive Service).