When Kirstie Allsopp, presenter of Channel 4's Location, Location, Location, sought to debunk the housing crisis headlines recently with her plea that there is no such thing as a national housing market, Place set off on a tour of different streets around the region to see what the Allsopp-inspired micro-detail produced. Future reports will cover the changing prices on these streets over the course of 2008. Jayne Dowle investigated the picture for the year to date.
Deansgate, Manchester M3
Prime city-centre residential territory boasting two new top-end apartment schemes in No.1 Deansgate and Beetham Tower, has seen 437 properties change hands since 2000.
- Number of properties sold in 2007/08 – 156
- Average price, 2007/08, £365,964
- Number of properties sold in 2006 – 16
- Average price, 2006, £271,494
Analysis: "The market is obviously tough in the city centre, but we are still agreeing and completing sales," says Rebecca Williams, sales manager at Knight Frank Manchester. "Purchasers are more mature, with cash or mortgages in place. They are buying for more of need than a want." The increased average price for Deansgate in the past year was skewed by the sale of numbers 336 and 340 in May 2007 for a total of £10.5m. Despite showing up on the residential Land Registry, both are commercial buildings, not apartment blocks.
Old Hall Street, Liverpool L3
Lots of redevelopment – 272 properties have sold here since 2000 – in centrally-placed residential location for business, transport, retail and cultural activities.
- Number of properties sold in 2007/08 – 8
- Average price, 2007/08, £326,981
- Number of properties sold in 2006 – 35
- Average price, 2006, £147,094
All the properties sold in the last year were apartments in the Albany Building, the conversion of a Grade II-listed Victorian building. Although property gossip blamed high pricing for sluggish sales in this development, the top price paid, £481,740, for an apartment in November 2007, is more than twice the average spend in 2006. It suggests that there are buyers in Liverpool willing to pay for the right property.
Chapel Lane, Hale Barns WA15
Dominated by mid-20th Century detached houses, Chapel Lane is in the centre of this ultra-smart Cheshire village.
- Number of properties sold in 2007/08 – 5
- Average price, 2007/08, £511,200
- Number of properties sold in 2006 – 6
- Average price, 2006, £915 833
If sales and prices achieved appear to be sluggish, that's because owners are expecting too much money for properties which require extensive updating, says agent Clive Hall at Holland Hall. "Many are just not selling at the price points owners expect. People have been imagining that if a nearby house sold for £800,000, they could get £1m. That's not realistic in today's market, and some properties are £50,000-£100,000 over-priced."
Abbey Road, Barrow-in-Furness LA14
Characterised by large Victorian houses, Abbey Road is a major route into Barrow-in-Furness, a Cumbrian regeneration hotspot.
- Number of properties sold in 2007/08 – 13
- Average price, 2007/08, £223,496
- Number of properties sold in 2006 – 9
- Average price, 2006, £222,083
"The effects of regeneration have not really filtered through to the housing market yet," says Louise Eacott at Cumbrian Properties, "but this road has always been popular. It attracts families who want a lot of house for their money and people wanting to start bed-and-breakfasts." Prices have stayed steady in the past two years. If anything, sales volume has increased since 2006, which underlines the growing interest in the town from buyers outside Barrow-in-Furness.
Warwick Road, Carlisle CA1
Rapid turnover of stock in an area of the city characterised by terraced houses – and serious flooding – in 2005.
- Number of properties sold in 2007/08 – 27
- Average price, 2007/08, £172,111
- Number of properties sold in 2006 – 23
- Average price, 2006, £146, 697
"There is always something being sold on Warwick Road," says one Carlisle agent. And despite the floods which engulfed part of Warwick Road in 2005 – only nine properties were sold that year – its popularity appears to be unaffected by the current economic climate. Three sales completed in January and February. Slowdown here will surely indicate serious slowdown across the city.
Clare Avenue, Hoole, Chester CH2
Popular terraced houses with relatively high turnover, close to transport links and a favourite with commuters and first-time buyers.
- Number of properties sold in 2007/08 – 10
- Average price, 2007/08, £169,690
- Number of properties sold in 2006 – 4
- Average price, 2006, £176,750
Although more properties sold during 2007/08 than in 2006, prices appear to have gone into reverse. Despite this, two properties sold in January and February this year at just over £180,000 each, higher than average. Andrew Cummins at estate agent Northwood, says: "Clare Avenue always seems to have people moving in and out. There are quite a lot of renters as well as people who own, so this keeps activity busy."
Norley Close, Warrington WA5
Mixture of new-build houses and apartments on the site of a former cake factory, favoured by commuters and workers at nearby Warrington Hospital.
- Number of properties sold in 2007/08 – 9
- Average price, 2007/08, £107,378
- Number of properties sold in 2006 – 8
- Average price, 2006, £118,869
Surrounded by older terraced properties, this small pocket of private brownfield regeneration was built in the past five years. Although some apartments were bought as buy-to-let investments, most of the properties are owner-occupied. Local agents say there has been little movement on sales in recent months. The average selling price has dropped since 2006. These factors suggest a stagnant market for the foreseeable future.
Vance Road, Blackpool FY1
A road of typical Blackpool guest-houses, close to Central Pier and to the revamped Hounds Hill shopping centre.
- Number of properties sold in 2007/08 – 6
- Average price, 2007/08, £126,750.
- Number of properties sold in 2006 – 4
- Average price, 2006, £164,987
Interesting to see that despite the doom and gloom about Blackpool, a terraced property on Vance Road did sell in January for a relatively healthy £150,000. In general though, prices for guest-houses in Blackpool are on a downward trend. Despite the millions pumped into transforming the resort's infrastructure, the current credit crunch looks unlikely to alleviate this situation.
Addison Street, Blackburn BB2
Elevate East Lancashire, the Housing Market Renewal Initiative, transformed a once-declining area dominated by 19th Century terraces.
- Number of properties sold in 2007/08 – 24
- Average price, 2007/08, £109,589
- Number of properties sold in 2006 – 3
- Average price, 2006, £47,334
Preston-based Places for People built 110 new houses, available for shared ownership (priced at around £130,000 full value) on the site of demolished houses. Blackburn with Darwen council renovated surrounding homes – the latest price for an older property is £76,950, a huge increase on the 2006 average. One local regeneration expert says that Addison Street and its environs is now "a place of choice for the Muslim community", indicating strong demand will continue.
Belfield Road, Rochdale OL16
Within the Rochdale/Oldham Housing Market Renewal area and part of a major regeneration scheme in its early stages.
- Number of properties sold in 2007/08 – 3
- Average price, 2007/08, £71,750
- Number of properties sold in 2006 – 9
- Average price, 2006, £74,833
With its variety of 19th Century terraced housing, social housing and former industrial plots, Belfield Road is a typical example of a mixed regeneration site requiring sustainable planning for future success. A range of residential tenures means sales turnover is not the only indication of market performance. Part of the £6.57m East/Central Rochdale regeneration budget is earmarked for new housing and a health centre.
Source: Our Property, using Land Registry figures.