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House prices up 300% in 20 years

PUBLISHED: 06:53 25 January 2003 | UPDATED: 16:12 24 February 2010

HOUSE prices in East Anglia have increased more than three times over in the last 20 years, a new report has revealed.

In 1983, the average price of a house was £28,914, but the region's homebuyers are now paying out an average of £126,140, according to a survey by the Halifax.

HOUSE prices in East Anglia have increased more than three times over in the last 20 years, a new report has revealed.

In 1983, the average price of a house was £28,914, but the region's homebuyers are now paying out an average of £126,140, according to a survey by the Halifax.

The survey, out today, highlights a growing north-south divide over price tags in the UK – and hints at a similar situation in Suffolk.

Sudbury, in the south of the county, has seen the most dramatic price rises in Suffolk over the past 15 years while Lowestoft, in the north east, trailed in last of the 10 sample locations.

Overall in East Anglia, prices have soared by 336% since 1983, representing the fifth biggest rise of the UK's 12 regions. The biggest increase – in Greater London – was 456%.

In Sudbury, which was second overall in East Anglia for biggest rises, average prices rose from £81,543 in 1988 to £188,949 in 2002 – a jump of 132% over 15 years.

Andrew Clayton, manager of Parkyns estate agents in Sudbury, said the town's location was key to the house price rises.

“Lots of people have moved into the area from more expensive areas, and that has bumped prices up,” he said.

“It is the economics of supply and demand. Prices have gone up astronomically in London, but they are not quite so high here.

“We are on the Essex border here, it's not too difficult to get to London, we're not far from Colchester and not a million miles away from Cambridge.

“Location is of vital importance. This is also a pretty market town, with a lot of charm and character to it.”

Mr Clayton said the rise had made it even more difficult for first-time buyers in Sudbury to get on the property ladder.

“One-bedroom flats are costing £60,000 to £70,000 and you won't get anything for less than £50,000,” he said.

In Lowestoft, average house prices rose from £54,725 in 1988 to £96,899 in 2002 – the rise of 77% was one of the smallest in the UK.

Richard Neal, owner of Wherry estate agents in Lowestoft, said high unemployment and the “isolated” location of the town stopped house prices matching those in other places.

But he added: “Some houses have increased by almost 100% in three-and-a-half years. The market is buoyant and we are benefiting from people saying 'no' to the huge increases in places like Southwold.

“There are some very desirable locations in Lowestoft. But I personally don't think we have the industry here to make people move to the area – and the state of the A12 does not help.”

Mr Neal said properties in Lowestoft rose by around 19% last year and predicted a slowdown this year. “The market has been pushed as far as it can go,” he added.

The survey found the region's house prices have soared by an average rate of 7.7% a year since 1983, pushing them above the national average of £121,742 in 2002. The annual rate of house price inflation in East Anglia is 20.3%, and 74% of properties are occupied by the owner.

The region's average house price is more than five times the average earnings and borrowers typically pay 14.3% of their yearly earnings on first mortgage payments.

In East Anglia, the town showing the biggest price increases was Wymondham, in Norfolk, which saw a leap of 139%. As in 1988, Cambridge was the region's most expensive property hotspot.

Philip Adams, regional sales manager for the Halifax in East Anglia, said the housing market remained strong in Norwich, Cambridge, Peterborough and Ipswich.

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