House prices up 87% in five years

THE property market in East Anglia is booming with latest figures showing house prices in the region have increased sharply by more than 85% in the past five years.

THE property market in East Anglia is booming with latest figures showing house prices in the region have increased sharply by more than 85% in the past five years.

But while the hike is good news for homeowners, concerns have been raised over the effect it will have on first time buyers looking to get onto the housing ladder.

According to the Halifax House Price Index for the second quarter of this year, which is released today, house prices in the region have risen by 87% since 2001.

Since last year they have increased of 9.6%, which means the average price of a house in East Anglia is £174,083 - compared to the UK average of £177,962.

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The market town of Sudbury in Suffolk saw the fastest rise in the whole of the region with house prices increasing by a staggering 14% in the last 12 months.

Meanwhile in the south east, which includes Essex, house prices have risen by 62% over the last five years, 6.5% since 2005, with the average cost of a property at £228,714.

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Although homeowners will be pleased with the findings housing experts have warned that it could spell further misery for first time buyers.

Peter Misslebrook, chairman of the Suffolk branch of the National Association of Estate Agents, said: “Certainly East Anglia and Suffolk are hot spots and house prices are strong at the moment, particularly if the property is in good condition. However I wouldn't want them to get any higher because that is not good to anyone - especially first time buyers.

“I have to say I'm surprised by the findings for this year and I wouldn't expect them to rise as much as 10% next year, particularly with the situation in the world at the moment.”

Nick Moulton, a chartered surveyor with Whymark and Moulton estate agents in Sudbury, said there had been a marked increase in sales in the town since last year.

“Sudbury is an attractive place to live and it has good transport links with Colchester and Bury St Edmunds and for those wanting to commute to the capital,” he said. “At the same time places such as Lavenham and Long Melford are nearby so there is a nice mix and you get the feeling of being in a town within the countryside.”

But Wil Gibson, chief executive of rural campaigners Suffolk ACRE, said there was still a pressing need for affordable housing so young families could step onto the property ladder.

He said: “The real issue we need to address is affordable housing not just in terms of renting but also in terms of purchasing outright. There are simply not enough homes for young first time buyers who want to start a family and get themselves on the first rung of the ladder.”

Stephen Scrase, secretary for the Essex branch of the National Association of Estate Agents, said he was not surprised to hear of the five year increase because parts of the county had become very fashionable.

He said: “North Essex in particular is very popular at the moment and is a bit of a secret we don't want to advertise too much.

“Not only is it a very pleasant area to live but it is also cheaper than some of the Home Counties and we often get people moving across because they want to live here instead.”

The Halifax Price Index is based around 15,000 house purchases per month to calculate a standardised property price for each region.

Hot Spot house prices in East Anglia

Town Average House Price (£) 2005 Average House Price (£) 2006 % change 2005-06

Sudbury 194,654 220,959 14%

Bury St Edmunds 188,724 201,622 7%

Cambridge 227,035 234,406 3%

Lowestoft 135,369 137,625 2%

Source: Halifax House Price Index

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