Lancashire hotspot: house sales soar as South slumps

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Bury enjoys huge rise in transactions while economic crisis strikes London commuter belt

A new North-South divide has opened up in the UK's flatlining property market, and this time London and the Home Counties are coming off second-best. Bury, the former Lancashire mill town previously renowned as home of the world's finest black puddings, was yesterday afforded the accolade of being named top hotspot with sales of homes rising 44 per cent year on year.

The research by Halifax found five of the top 10 best-performing areas in England and Wales were in the North. Nine of the bottom 10 areas were in London, the South-east or the South-west including the Prime Minister's constituency, Witney, in Oxfordshire, which recorded a fall in sales of 29 per cent.

Worst of all was Hoddesdon in leafy Hertfordshire, where just 107 homes were sold in the first half of 2011, down 39 per cent on 2010.

The growth in the North reflects a rise in the level of activity at the lower end of the housing market, particularly for flats and inexpensive terraced homes which now account for nearly eight in every 10 properties sold.

Suren Thiru, a Halifax housing economist, said: "The relatively favourable levels of affordability in many of the top-performing Northern towns have helped to support housing market activity in these locations, albeit from historically low levels." News of Bury's elevation came as surprising news to Bryn Weale, an estate agent who has been working in the town for the past 21 years. Although he said its four-bedroom detached homes starting at £220,000, rolling countryside and thriving retail centre were proving popular with commuters from Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester, business could at best be described as "steady".

He said: "We have seen this before in the 1980s and early 1990s but never to the same extent. Then prices fell but there was still a volume of transactions. There are always going to be the deaths and divorces and families will always expand and contract so there will always be an underlying demand but I am prepared to see 2015 go by before we see any major improvement."

The research found transaction levels in the 10 top performing towns in the survey were still 42 per cent lower than a decade ago compared with a national average of 49 per cent from 532,709 in the first half of 2001 to 271,113 in 2011.

And a new study shows that families who cannot afford to move are squeezing into homes they have outgrown. Finance firm LV said one in eight children now live in overcrowded homes while hard-up families were forced to make potentially unsafe modifications to create more space. After decades of overcrowding declining, the trend had now reversed, with the average family losing 11 sq ft of living space in the past three years, the survey of 1,000 households found.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
Sport
Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas
footballChelsea vs West Ham live kicks off coverage of all 10 of Boxing Day matches
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all