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Wednesday, 03 September 2014

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Confidence over rejuvenated housing market in Cumbria

Construction firms remain confident of a rejuvenated housing market in 2014, even though there is no sign of a recovery in house prices.

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Flashback: Opening of the Crindledyke Farm Story Homes development in Carlisle in May last year. Marilyn Bowman, Carlisle City Councillor for Stanwix Rural Ward, cuts the ribbon of the first house with CEO Fred Story, right, and Steve Errington, managing director of Story Homes

The Land Registry reports that the average price of a home in Cumbria fell by 0.4 per cent to £119,864 in November.

Prices have dipped by 1.8 per cent since November 2012, when the average was £122,116, and by 16.2 per cent since the height of the last property boom in December 2007.

The typical home then changed hands for £143,044 – £23,180 more than today.

Prices in Cumbria are back at a level last seen in spring 2005.

But the official figures do show that more homes are being sold. An average of 619 properties changed hand each month between June and August. That compares with 540 a month in the same period of 2012.

Housebuilders are optimistic about the prospects for the coming year.

Steve Errington, managing director of Carlisle-based Story Homes, said: “We have seen a big change in the market fundamentals in the last six or 12 months.

“We are seeing much quicker sales rates on all our sites.

“We currently have 12 developments and that will rise to 18 by the end of the year.”

The Government’s Help to Buy scheme, which assists home buyers struggling to raise a deposit, has been a big factor. A third of Story’s sales now come through Help to Buy.

Its flagship Crindledyke Farm development, on the northern edge of Carlisle, was launched in May.

The firm targeted 30 sales by March 2014 and reached 28 well before Christmas.

Mr Errington said demand had “surpassed expectations”.

Story will eventually build 850 homes there.

Persimmon Homes is also bullish about 2014.

It has six schemes in north and west Cumbria – Barley Edge and Brackenleigh in Carlisle, Scholars’ Green at Wigton, Church Meadows at Great Broughton, and Forgehill Park and Honister Park in Workington.

Two more are in the pipeline at Carleton Heights in Penrith and Bellaport Gardens, Harrington, and it has just submitted a planning application for 176 homes at Carleton near Carlisle.

The continued decline in house prices in Cumbria, and many other parts of northern England, is in marked contrast to what is happening in London and the south east.

House prices in London soared 10.6 per cent in the year to November.

The average home in the capital now sells for £396,646, more than three times the figure for Cumbria.

Across England and Wales, average prices climbed 3.2 per cent to £165,411 in the year to November.

JWhittle@cngroup.co.uk

Have your say

the average working family cant afford them Darren...the only people making money out of this are the developers and greedy councils selling off every bit of open space they can...we are surrounded by concrete and tarmac..and we wonder why flooding is predominant in the UK...look no further..Its time our council planners took a stand and stopped being bullied by central government into granting unwise planning permission without any consideration of the implications..

Posted by Mrs W on 8 January 2014 at 15:15

I admit to being a bit baffled as to who exactly is buying all these £200k+ homes....average wage in Carlisle area is well below national figure of £26-27k. Or have the banks gone back to their reckless lending again?

Posted by John Stitch on 7 January 2014 at 21:35

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