How local factors drive demand

We move on average every six years, and with luck we make a profit each time. Good news if you have been a homeowner for several years, but what if you have delayed buying a house for the last three years? How much equity would you have now?
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The Independent Online

Land Registry figures for England and Wales show that property prices increased on average by 44.95 per cent between June 1999 and June 2002 from £91,846 to £133,128. Flats and maisonettes have enjoyed the biggest increase over this period at 54.2 per cent, with the average price rising from £88,799 to £136,926.

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Land Registry figures for England and Wales show that property prices increased on average by 44.95 per cent between June 1999 and June 2002 from £91,846 to £133,128. Flats and maisonettes have enjoyed the biggest increase over this period at 54.2 per cent, with the average price rising from £88,799 to £136,926.

Percentage price gains vary in different parts of the country, especially where local factors have led to an increase in demand for property.

PADSTOW, CORNWALL + 78%

Second-home ownership has boomed in recent years in Padstow on Cornwall's north coast. Around 80 per cent of the old town's character properties now belong to newcomers with more money to spend on homes than the locals. But it's not just Rick Stein's quayside Seafood Restaurant and cookery show that has projected Padstow into everyone's front rooms. Flights from London's Stansted to nearby Newquay, improved road access and the Eden Project have all lead to a demand for properties.

Peter Olivey from Padstow estate agent Cole, Rayment and White sold a cottage-style property in the conservation area of Church Lane in 1999 for £90,000. The two-bedroom house with a courtyard garden is within 200 yards of the harbour and most importantly has two parking spaces. "Parking is at an absolute premium," Olivey adds, so it was no surprise to him that he has just resold the cottage for £174,500 – a 78 per cent increase.

Cole, Rayment and White 01841 533 386

BROMLEY, KENT + 93%

You would expect a well-heeled town like Bromley in Kent to have shared in the South-east's housing boom. Yet many of the smaller properties around the town remained cheap and undiscovered for longer than expected owing to "a lack of Tube" snobbery, according to Russell Sinclair from local estate agent Andrew Reeves. The many good schools in one of London's largest boroughs have always been a draw for families and now its fast rail links to central London, easy access to the M25 and shopping facilities have contributed to its popularity with young professionals balking at property prices further into the city.

"Buy-to-let has also contributed to the price rises," Russell adds. "We have a lot of people downsizing in the area and putting their equity into property instead of the stock market." Marriage break-ups have created a high demand for two-bedroom flats, and a large company relocating to the town from the Midlands has brought newcomers to the area. Andrew Reeves sold a one-bedroom purpose-built flat with parking and within walking distance of the town centre for £75,000 in 1999. It has just been resold for £145,000, an impressive 93 per cent increase in three years.

The Walker family recently sold a four-bedroom semi in Bromley for £240,000 for which they had paid £146,000 three years ago. "We'd spent around £16,000 on a loft conversion, but we were really pleased with the profit," says Kate Walker. They moved to a three-bedroom semi costing £190,000, which has risen in value to £225,000 between having the offer accepted and completion. The Walkers are delighted. "Both times we have bought in a rising market. Now we definitely know we can put money back into the new house without losing out."

Andrew Reeves 020-8464 5566

THORNTON CLEVELEYS, LANCASHIRE + 28%

In the retirement town of Thornton Cleveleys, around five miles north of Blackpool, price rises have not been quite so meteoric but nevertheless have shown a steady increase. Local estate agent Kevin Allitt says the town's affordability has helped prices. "People are coming from the South and Manchester, Bolton and Blackburn to retire so they can get more for their money."

Allitt's sold a three-bedroom Thirties semi at Carr Gate in Thornton Cleveleys for £68,000 in 1999. It recently sold for £87,500 – a 28 per cent increase. Yet local factors have contributed to greater price rises six miles south of Blackpool at the upmarket Lytham and cosmopolitan St Anne's.

Contracts awarded to British Aerospace at Warton and expansion by AXA, based in the town, has led to an influx of employees looking for property. According to Sylvia Shannon from the St Anne's branch of Bradford & Bingley estate agents, three-bedroom semis have seen a 30 per cent price increase over the last three years from around £70,000 to just under £100,000.

Allitt 01253 863030; Bradford & Bingley 01253 725166

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