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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Cumbria bypassed by national increase in property values

The recovery in house prices affecting most of the country appears to have passed Cumbria by.

Nick Elgey photo
Nick Elgey

Official figures from the Land Registry show that average house prices in England and Wales rose by 0.1 per cent to £164,654 last month and are 1.3 per cent higher than a year ago.

Less reliable statistics from the Nationwide Building Society put the average UK house price at £170,918, up 4.3 per cent in 12 months.

But both agree that it is a different story in Cumbria.

The Land Registry says the county average fell by 0.1 per cent to £120,150 in August, down from £121,135 in August 2012 and down 16 per cent from £142,990 at the height of the property boom in 2007. The Nationwide, meanwhile, names Carlisle as the UK's worst-performing regional housing market with average prices down three per cent to £133,833 over the last year.

Nick Elgey, managing director of Cumberland Estate Agents, believes the Nationwide’s figure is based on a very small sample and cannot be relied upon.

But he sees no sign yet of price rises in Cumbria.

He said: “The national average increase is driven by unprecedented growth in London and the Home Counties. And to a lesser extent by regions such as the north east and Wales where they have started to bounce back from a very low base. Prices here are static.”

According to the Land Registry, average house prices in Cumbria have fallen in five of the last eight months and are back to the level of spring 2005.

However, the number of homes being sold has started to rise.

There were an average of 524 sales each month between March and May up from 489 in the same period of 2012.

Mr Elgey added: “What we saw in August and September was a 30 per cent increase in viewings and a 25 per cent increase in sales compared with August and September last year.

“The key thing is whether this can be sustained and it remains to be seen if that leads to an increase in prices.

“Until we see contested bidding for properties, I don’t expect prices to rise.”

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