House prices in Cumbria have risen by more than five per cent in 12 months
House prices in Cumbria have risen by more than five per cent in 12 months

HOUSE prices in Cumbria jumped by 5.4 per cent in the year to March – by far the biggest annual rise since the financial crisis sent property values tumbling in 2008.

Official figures from the Land Registry show that the average price of homes sold in March was £124,631, up from £118,210 the year before.

But they remain well below the market peak at the end of 2007, when the average property in the county sold for more than £142,000.

A vibrant housing market tends to boost the wider economy because people are more likely to spend on home improvements, electrical goods, carpets and furnishings when they move.

And the Land Registry figures indicate more people are moving. 

An average of 657 homes changed hands in Cumbria each month between November and January, up from 602 per month in the same period of 2014-15.

Estate agent Adrian Hogarth, of Cumbrian Properties, believes that the increase in sales may be partly due to the imposition of a stamp duty surcharge on buy-to-let and second homes, which took effect in April.

He said: “There was a surge of completions as buyers tried to bear the surcharge and we will see that when the March figures come through. We sold a number of houses in the Windermere area at £1m plus. 

“In general, the market is healthy. It always picks up at this time of year. Vendors are getting offers closer to their asking price and properties aren't taking as long to sell.” 

Nationally, the Land Registry says house prices climbed by 6.7 per cent in the year to March, taking the average price of a home in England and Wales to £189,901.

However, this national average masks huge regional variations.

London prices soared by 13.9 per cent, taking the average price of a home in the capital to £534,785, more than four times the Cumbria figure.

In contrast, in Yorkshire and Humberside the annual increase was only 1.6 per cent while in North East England prices actually fell, by 0.7 per cent.

In the North West, which includes Cumbria, the average price rise was 5.3 per cent.