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Long decline in Cumbrian house prices could be over


By Julian Whittle Business editor

House for sale signs photo
The long-term decline in Cumbrian house prices could be over.

House for sale signs photo

Official figures from the Land Registry show a 0.3 per cent increase in January.

The rise takes the average price of properties sold to £120,432, up from £120,107 in December.

And it means that prices are fractionally higher than in January 2013.

But they remain well below the market peak, in December 2007, when the average home sold for £143,148.

The Land Registry also reports that more homes are changing hands.

It recorded an average of 656 sales in Cumbria each month between September and November, up from 511 in the same period of 2012.

Liz Bolger, area sales director for Your Move estate agents, is optimistic although she says it is too soon to say if the rise in prices will become a permanent trend.

She said: “Without a shadow of a doubt we are feeling extremely positive.

“The last quarter of 2013 was extremely good for us and we’ve had a very good start to 2014, the best since 2007.

“Overall, we haven’t seen [price] increases yet but we are starting to meet sellers’ expectations rather than under-delivering in their eyes as we have been doing in the past.”

Ms Bolger believes that the Land Registry figures overstate the fall in Cumbrian house prices in 2007.

She argues that the credit crunch hit sales of the most expensive properties hardest.

That had the effect of reducing the average price of transactions.

She added: “There is better availability of mortgage finance for first-time buyers and that unlocks the whole of the market.

“We are also seeing more buy-to-let investors. They had been reluctant to purchase because they were worried that property values might decline but they are more confident now.”

Nationally, the Land Registry says, prices rose by 1.0 per cent in January and by 4.2 per cent since January 2013.

The average home in England and Wales now costs £168,356.

These averages mask big regional variations, however.

House prices in London soared by 10.9 per cent over the year.

The average home in the capital sold for £409,881 in January, more than three times the figure for Cumbria.

But in the North West, which includes in Cumbria, the annual increase was more modest 2.6 per cent.

In the Yorkshire and Humber region it was only 0.3 per cent.

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