Region's house price rise continues

By Danielle Nuttall and Rebecca SheppardHOUSE prices in East Anglia have risen by 64% in the past three years, new figures reveal today.The average price of a house in the region is now £148,119, compared to the average UK price of £147,785, according to mortgage lenders Halifax.

By Danielle Nuttall and Rebecca Sheppard

HOUSE prices in East Anglia have risen by 64% in the past three years, new figures reveal today.

The average price of a house in the region is now £148,119, compared to the average UK price of £147,785, according to mortgage lenders Halifax.

Suffolk has seen the greatest rise in the property market, with average house prices currently £170,449.


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In Ipswich, the average house price is now £169,377, compared to £151,349 in the first quarter of 2003, representing a 12% increase.

Phillip Adams, Halifax regional sales manager, said: “The housing market in East Anglia has grown steadily over the first quarter, recording a 1.9% uplift in house prices compared to 5.1% across the UK as a whole.

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“Over the year, the price of a home in East Anglia has grown at around half the rate of the UK average of 18.5%.”

He added: “During the rest of 2004, we expect slow and steady growth with house prices finishing the year 8% above their starting price.

“The average house price across the region is now £148,119, a touch above the UK average price of £147,785. However, this is not making the plight of first time buyers in the region any easier.”

Halifax said coastal areas continued to attract buyers, who were willing to pay a premium to live by the sea.

But Brian Woodruff, owner of Balmforth Property Services, in London Road, Lowestoft, said the rises “just cannot go on”.

He added: “We are bound to have a higher percentage increase in Lowestoft as we started off low compared to the rest of East Anglia.

“Over the last year, and certainly over the last six months, it has been moving very quickly, especially in the lower price ranges. They have been rising steadily and have been selling.”

But Mr Woodruff said he did not think the price rises in the Lowestoft area were due to the fact that people just wanted to live beside the seaside.

“I think it's more the fact that we were much cheaper here than those other places by the seaside. There have been a fairly high amount of people buying to let, but they have priced themselves out of that now,” he added.

Caroline Edwards, director of Coulson Edwards estate agents, based in Long Melford, said first-time buyers were finding it “tough” to find houses priced below £150,000 - about four years ago that would probably be more like £75,000.

She added a “golden triangle” existed, including villages such as Kersey and Boxford, where properties were highly sought after, particularly by Londoners receiving bonuses and wanting to snap up a country retreat.

She said it was difficult to see a crash in the property market happening as there were “low interest rates, high employment and a shortage of houses”.

Norfolk remains the cheapest county to live in the region, with average homes costing £155,338, 5% higher than the first quarter of 2003.

But Cambridge is the most expensive area to live in East Anglia and it saw house prices rise by 4% during the past year from £163,955 to £170,356.

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