Harwich is the new house hot-spot

By Richard SmithTHE historic town of Harwich has been named as the region's latest property hot-spot after house prices by almost 30%.Banking group Halifax has carried out a study of the change in average house prices in 634 UK towns between 2002 and 2003.

By Richard Smith

THE historic town of Harwich has been named as the region's latest property hot-spot after house prices by almost 30%.

Banking group Halifax has carried out a study of the change in average house prices in 634 UK towns between 2002 and 2003.

It found the largest rise in property prices in the country was Brighouse in West Yorkshire, with the average cost of a new home rising 65% in the past year to £119,070.


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In East Anglia, the table was topped by Harwich, which saw average house prices soar by 27% from

£119,438 to £151,326.

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By comparison, property prices in Newmarket fell by 1%, with the cost of an average house falling from £185,024 to £183,226.

The survey revealed the North-South divide in the UK housing market had narrowed during 2003, with the top 30 towns for price growth all lying outside the M25 and 49 towns in the North breaking the £100,000 average price barrier for the first time.

The highest rise by a southern town was Sawbridgeworth in Hertfordshire, which saw an annual increase of 39% to rank 38th in the league table.

Jane Pridgeon, managing director of Halifax Estate Agents, said: "These figures confirm that 2003 has undoubtedly been the 'year of the North' and we expect this trend to continue in the coming 12 months.

"We anticipate that annual house price growth will ease slightly in the North, but still remain strong at around 17%, and we expect to see an increase in UK house prices of about 8% next year, in line with the long-term average."

However, although the prices of houses in northern towns were growing at the fastest rate, the most expensive places to live in the UK remained clustered in the South.

People hoping to move to regatta town Henley-on-Thames would now have to pay an average of £411,794 for a home, confirming its place at the top of the "expensive list".

By comparison, buyers could own seven properties in Lochgelly, Fife, for the average cost of a home as a house in the Scottish town comes with an average price tag of £54,910 – the lowest of anywhere in the country.

The Halifax survey collated the average prices of houses on which an offer of mortgage had been granted, but did not include properties sold for more than £1million.

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

House price changes in East Anglia in 2003

Town Average 2002 Average 2003 % increase

Harwich £119,438 £151,326 27

Bury St Edmunds £153,992 £190,406 24

Diss £149,733 £178,169 19

Great Yarmouth £98,013 £116,717 19

Lowestoft £96,899 £115,313 19

Halstead £142,272 £167,880 18

Clacton £120,747 £140,682 17

Thetford £114,608 £133,389 16

Stowmarket £141,520 £163,293 15

Witham £158,191 £179,938 14

Chelmsford £192,719 £217,606 13

Maldon £182,974 £206,353 13

Norwich £138,862 £155,190 12

Cambridge £199,762 £221,734 11

Braintree £176,608 £194,880 10

Haverhill £137,861 £152,326 10

Ipswich £144,572 £150,473 4

Great Dunmow £245,139 £247,688 1

Woodbridge £177,965 £179,614 1

Newmarket £185,024 £183,226 -1

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