House prices fall below regional average

HOUSE prices in Hartlepool have dropped well below the regional average as the market continues to struggle through the recession – though local estate agents are still reporting healthy sales.

National figures focusing on house sales showed a slight rise of just 0.1 per cent last month when compared to the previous month.

Data from the Land Registry showed that prices in the North-East had fallen by 7.8 per cent in the year to August.

But in Hartlepool, prices had dropped by 15.7 over the same period, leaving the average home in the town worth £82,561.

While the national picture shows weak sales, estate agents across Hartlepool say business is brisk.

David Sharpe, who works as a sales advisor for town-based Dowen, said; “Houses sell if they are priced right, it is as simple as that.

“There is a demand there, but I think the negative figures reflect that a lot of the houses on the market may be overpriced.”

Sharon Richardson, of Manners and Harrison, in York Road, said summer sales in her branch had been better than last year’s.

She said: “In July, we were 27 per cent up on last year, and during August and September we have done an enormous amount of sales.

“House prices are not going up, and a lot of properties are wrongly priced, but the market is still busy.

“There are problems in the market. Young people, or first time buyers cannot get on the ladder because the deposits being asked for now are much bigger than they used to be, and getting a mortgage is tougher.

“But as things stand at the moment, the market is moving, and the estate agents are still busy.”