Shropshire house prices 'lower than before economic crash'
Estate agents clashed today over the state of the housing market in Shropshire – amid claims that prices are lower now than they were before the economic crash of 2008.
WOLVERHAMPTON STEVE LEATH COPYRIGHT EXPRESS AND STAR 09/04/2014 Pics for a house price story. Willenhall Road, Wolverhampton. (some are To Let signs).
Property website Right Move claims the average house price in Shropshire is still four per cent less now than in 2008.
Figures reveal that, while the average price of a home in Shropshire and Staffordshire was around £180,963, the figure currently lies 4.4 per cent lower at £173,027.
Shropshire estate agents today insisted figures like this can be misleading to the average home buyer.
They also say the whole view of the housing market is being warped by the South East, which is experiencing another boom with spiralling prices.
Ian Patrick, senior valuer at Nock Deighton in Ludlow, said: "You see these reports of house prices rising something like 40 percent, but that's not the case round here - those price rises are very geographical.
"I would say there's been a marginal increase in prices in south Shropshire since the collapse in 2007, though I wouldn't like to put a figure on it.
"There is a strong demand, people still want to move here, but sellers should realise that buyers are still cautious and they need to have a realistic asking price.
"Many of the buyers we talks to are from busier places who want to escape the hurly burly and come to south Shropshire for the peace and quiet and quality of life. As long as there's a reasonable asking price, there's no reason why you should get a sale."
Gary Holland, owner of Holland Broadbridge estate agents in Shrewsbury, said: "National reports of this nature in my opinion are misleading to the general public because property prices fluctuate by regional and these reports give a national perspective.
"The market at the moment here in Shrewsbury is very buoyant. We have had an exceptional July and August and we anticipate that to be the case for the next few months. Shrewsbury is a very diverse area and house prices can change not only in an area but within a street in that area.
"The red flag for us is the general election when we anticipate house prices to dip following the election and when interest rates go up."
Jonathan Coombes, director at S&J Property Centres on Cheshire Street in Market Drayton said he believed the Right Move figures had some merit.
He said: "What we have found is that we were very quiet since 2008 until about 16 months ago when we started to notice it get busier and people began to move into the area again, which stopped for a few years.
"But to be honest, prices haven't increased and there is no sign of that yet.
"Obviously since 2008 they have come down quite a lot.
"A typical three bedroom house that would have been selling for 150,000-160,000 is now going for about 130,000. It's a 10-15 per cent decrease.
"It's very different in different areas though - not so much with prices but I know Shrewsbury and Ludlow are very busy at the moment.
"Since last year, things have been picking up, but there is no sign of the prices increasing since 2008.
"But the signs are there for a bit of improvement soon. If we can have more of a stable market and more first time buyers, with things getting busier, then things should improve soon."
Nationally, house price figures are showing a clear north south divide, with the biggest increases being made in London and the south west.
With an average price tag of £1.5 million, average asking prices in central London and the City are now 41.9 per cent above the levels seen when the housing market was at its pre-crisis peak in May 2008, Rightmove has found.
Property prices in County Durham remain the most sluggish, with the typical asking price in the area standing at £114,554, which is 13.4 per cent below the typical amount requested by sellers in May 2008.
Outside London, Cambridgeshire has seen the strongest recovery in sellers' asking prices, with prices up by 21.9 per cent on their 2008 levels to reach £311,933 typically.
Cheshire and North Yorkshire are are the only northern regions to buck the trend, with house sellers' asking prices in Cheshire are now 1.1 per cent higher than in 2008, standing at £213,618 on average.
Those in North Yorkshire have reached £244,776, which is 0.1 per cent higher than in 2008.
Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said: "While at a high level the South has out-performed the North, being able to dig underneath that courtesy of the millions of properties advertised on Rightmove since 2001 shows a really varied county versus county performance."