Sold: des res. Three-bed, semi-detached in suburban location. Perfect for small families, £14,000.
That was the price paid for a house in Stockton, dubbed the cheapest in the country. And it is one which would make many young families struggling to get on the housing ladder across the country take notice.
The property originally went under the hammer for only £750 but a surge in interest saw the price shoot up – although, the winning bid was still less than a third of the price similar properties have gone for, estate agents said.
But that could be where the bargain ends for the buyer of the house in the Teesside town because of its dreadful condition. Richard Watson, from auctioneers Robinsons estate agents, said the property needed a “huge amount” of work to bring it up to standard.
He added the house “has been vandalised to a very bad extent: all of the wiring has been taken out, there's no plumbing, there's no heating system, the kitchen has been removed, and the bathroom is an absolute mess”.
The area has worsened in the past few years, according to one local resident and the street the house is on has seen anti-social behaviour and arson in the past, while the local MP Alex Cunningham recently called on residents to work with police to bring the area back to its “former glory”.
The resident, who did not want to be named, said it was once a family area, but has become “really bad” since homes had been left empty, attracting “the wrong kind of people”, according to the BBC.
The resident told the Corporation: “It used to be like the suburbs, it was out of the way, we even had a Neighbourhood Watch scheme.
“It all changed about six or seven years ago; the street stopped being about families, and the houses were sold on to landlords who didn't care about the area.”
The street has more than 50 houses on it, 25 per cent of which are currently empty, according to Stockton Council. A council spokesman said funding had been secured to help cover the costs of CCTV installation in the area. It is hoped that this, along with “general clean-up work”, will help revitalise the neighbourhood.