Blaenau Gwent average home prices now cheapest in Wales and England
By Antony Stone
Blaenau homes at £63,433 as counterparts in booming London rise above £410,000
A 3 bedroom house for sale in Tredegar Avenue, Ebbw Vale, with a guide price of £25,000
Average house prices in Blaenau Gwent are officially the lowest in England and Wales after plummeting by more than 15% in the last year.
The steep downward trajectory in prices in the south Wales valley borough saw valuations drop to £63,443 in the year to the end of February.
Two other areas of Wales also saw falls with average prices in Swansea, which includes up-market Gower, dropping 4.2% to £105,927. The story is the same in Pembrokeshire where a 2.1% fall lead average prices down to £133,497.
New figures giving a snapshot of the changing face of the housing market were released in the Land Registry House Price Index (HPI).
It shows prices in Wales went up by a moderate 1.7% over the period – light years behind the booming London market.
For sale: Fab lodge near Cardiff with change from £1m
Average prices in the capital rocketed 13.8% to £414,356, where average valuations are now more than six times above those in Blaenau Gwent.
But while rapidly rising prices are seen as an economic boon by many, others warn it is unhealthy for a home to earn more than its owner while he or she is out at work.
Lee Williams, of Tredegar-based estate agent FoyWilliams, believes the drop in Blaenau Gwent prices is an overdue correction.
It means local people are being priced back into the market in an area where salaries have not risen for several years.
As a local boy himself he has just bought a large three bedroom home for £135,000 and has no plans to leave any time soon.
“Prices are much more affordable around here and if you live and work here you can have a good standard of living, surely that’s what it’s all about,” he said.
“Most people in this area earn about £250 a week if they’re lucky. Prices have had to come down to take account.
“We are right on the edge of the Brecon Beacons here and can be out in the countryside within minutes. People are friendly and quality of life is high.
“I’ve got friends in their mid 30s who went off to London to seek their fortune and still haven’t been able to buy; it’s all too expensive.”
He added that the latest HPI figures also mask major price differences across the borough.
He points to a three bedroom end-of-terrace home, in immaculate condition, which recently sold for £125,000 in Fields Road, Tredegar.
Less than half a mile away, in Woodfield Road, a home of similar specification went, in a less sought after area, for £70,000.
Even rock bottom average house prices look expensive next to bargains such as the Ebbw Vale property going to auction soon. With three bedroom and a bathroom and toilet upstairs, and a reception room, kitchen, shower room and toilet downstairs, the property appears a snip at £25,000. Marketed by Barnard Marcus Auctions it goes under the hammer on 14 April at the Grand Connaught Rooms, in Covent Garden, London.
Emma Lovatt, at West Wales Properties, Haverfordwest, said despite a decline in prices, the market in Pembrokeshire was stable.
Second home buyers from Cardiff and England are returning to areas such as Tenby and Saundersfoot.
“I think that certain pockets give a distorted picture of the area but so far this month we are definitely seeing a rise in activity.
“There is something of a ripple effect from the boom in London and that will eventually filter through.”