House prices fall in north east Essex

THOUSANDS of homeowners in Essex have seen the value of their properties drop for the first time in years.According to latest figures, the county's spiralling property prices could be a thing of the past.

THOUSANDS of homeowners in Essex have seen the value of their properties drop for the first time in years.

According to latest figures, the county's spiralling property prices could be a thing of the past.

Data from the Land Registry shows that average house prices in Chelmsford plummeted almost 4% during the final quarter of last year, while they fell 0.9% in Colchester and 0.6% in Tendring.

Only in Braintree, in north east Essex, did property prices hold firm, jumping 1.9% from September to December.


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It is too early to say whether the latest figures are a blip or the beginning of the downward trend dreaded by homeowners but long awaited by young people trying to get on to the property ladder.

The Government figures show particularly heavy falls in the detached and semi-detached sectors.

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In Colchester, the average property was worth £183,715 at the end of December, but while flats, maisonettes and terraced houses had increased in value, detached and semi-detached homes fell more than 2.5%.

A detached home in the Colchester area now costs around £263,479 and a semi £174,519.

In Chelmsford the average detached house cost £326,294 at the end of the year, 4.8% down on three months previously.

In Tendring, detached houses fell sharply by 6.8% to £192,713 and flats/maisonettes dropped 5.5% in value to £107,638.

However, semi-detached prices jumped 7.4% to £146,178 and terraced houses rose nearly 3% to £131.631.

Across Essex as a whole, average prices remained fairly flat during the final quarter, rising just 0.24% to £211,013.

Over the last 12 months the average rise was almost 11% - a situation mirrored in the north east Essex districts.

Colchester's annual increase was 10.5% - caused mainly by spiralling priced for flats and terraced houses - whereas the Tendring terraced house boom triggered an 8.5% overall average rise last year.

Semi-detached house prices in Tendring now cost around £157,022 on average, 17.5% up on December 2003.

Stephen Scrase , Essex secretary of the National Association of Estate Agents, said: “November and December went very quiet. Those figures might not reflect what's happening now.”

Mr Scrase, who works for Percivals chartered surveyors and estate agents, in Earls Colne, said: “Now we are receiving some activity, not at the same level we have previously experienced. It's quality rather than quantity.”

He added: “As long as interest rates remain stable, confidence will start creeping back. As long as people are sensible with prices we should have a reasonable year.”

He said non-dependent purchasers - those without chains, who are buying to let - seem to have disappeared.

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