Housing market on the up in the North

29 September 2003
The housing market is showing marked signs of improvement, particularly in the North, according to two recent surveys.

Property website Hometrack recorded average house price rises in England and Wales of 0.4 per cent in September, with the strongest rises in the North West and Wales.

The number of sales agreed rose by two per cent in September, according to the survey, and sellers had more success in getting the prices they wanted, with 94.6 per cent of asking price achieved in sales.

"The many doom mongers who have been predicting a crash over the past two years are looking rather foolish," John Wriglesworth, Hometrack's housing economist said.

Prices rose faster in cheaper parts of the country, he said, helping narrow the gap with the expensive South East.

Mr Wriglesworth added: "The housing market is definitely returning to a buoyant phase, with strong house price rises in most areas of the country, particularly the North West. Clearly houses are still affordable for many homebuyers."

Only a handful of areas saw prices fall, including Surrey, north west London and Berkshire.

Meanwhile, a survey by Halifax Estate Agents found that the price of the average home has risen by 138 per cent in the last decade, from an average of £65,025 in the same period in 1993 in April to June 1993 to £154,503 during the same period this year.

While the South remains the area with the most expensive prices, the North has seen the greatest growth in prices, the study found.

Surrey is the most expensive county to buy property, closely followed by Greater London, while West Glamorgan and South Humberside are the cheapest.

Halifax Estate Agents managing director Jane Pridgeon said: "The past 12 months has definitely been 'the year of the north' as house prices in northern counties have generally outperformed the southern counties, slightly narrowing the traditional north/south divide."