Housing market hotspot in town

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HOUSE sales in a Wearside town are among the fastest growing in the country, according to a new report.

Property sales in Houghton have risen by 27 per cent during the past year, putting it fourth highest in the country, the figures from Halifax bank showed.

Martin Ellis, head of housing economics at Halifax, said: “The increase in Houghton was largely due to a 58 per cent increase in the sale of semi-detached properties which accounted for nearly two-thirds of the overall rise.

“Terraced home sales were also up by 16 per cent, accounting for most of the remainder of the increase whilst sales of detached homes fell by 16 per cent.

“The relatively low level of prices in the town – and hence the associated relatively good affordability – has been the key factor behind the increase in demand for properties in the town.”

But Mr Ellis added that the figures also showed that sales have dramatically slumped overall over the past few years in Houghton.

He said: “To put the increase into context, the total number of sales in the first half of 2011 was still significantly below the level recorded in 2007 – 57 per cent lower.”

Sales in Houghton are still down 51 per cent from a decade ago, the figures showed.

Bury is the country’s leading property sales hotspot, the research showed, with sales of homes in the Greater Manchester town up by 44 per cent.

Halifax housing economist Suren Thiru said: “The relatively favourable levels of affordability in many of the top performing Northern towns have helped to support housing market activity in these locations, albeit from historically low levels.”

The study showed more than half of the top 10 property sales hotspots were in the North or the Midlands, which is a huge chance from last year, when eight of the 10 biggest sales rises came from the south of England.

The North recorded overall an overall fall in property sales of 2.2 per cent, compared to 11.3 per cent in London.

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