Town flat goes under the hammer

Lawrie Stewart of Auction House Tees Valley inside 1A Derby Street, Hartlepool, on offer from �2,500.
Lawrie Stewart of Auction House Tees Valley inside 1A Derby Street, Hartlepool, on offer from �2,500.

A TOWN flat which went on the market as one of the cheapest ever homes in Hartlepool, has been snapped up by housing chiefs for £13,000.

The one-bedroom pad in Derby Street, went on sale at a public auction at Hardwick Hall, in Sedgefield, last night, with the starting price of just £2,500.

The flat, which was described as being “in a distressed state and in need of work”, attracted interest from five bidders in the room before it was eventually sold to Hartlepool Council.

The local authority will now refurbish the run-down property at a cost of around £20,000, before renting it out to a tenant as part of a £5million regeneration scheme targeting empty homes in the town.

The council’s housing services manager Nigel Johnson was accompanied by principal housing and regeneration officer Amy Waller at the auction.

Mr Johnson told the Mail afterwards that he thought the £13,000 winning bid was “reasonable”.

Ms Waller said: “This is part of our scheme to bring homes that have been empty for six months or more back into use at affordable rent for local people.

“We acquire the property then refurbish it to a really high standard, then let it at 80 per cent of the market rent for that area. It will be managed by Housing Hartlepool.”

The starting price of £2,500 meant the flat was just one twentieth of a typical home in town.

Before bidding got under way auctioneers said it was the cheapest property they have seen in Hartlepool.

Lawrie Stewart, director of Auction House Tees Valley, who handled the sale, said: “I’m over the moon and delighted with the selling price. It is still quite cheap, but you could do it up for £13-£18,000 and it’s in a really good condition.”

Mr Stewart revealed that the property had attracted 17,500 hits in recent days on a property website, and auctioneers received interest from one potential buyer in the United Arab Emirates.

The flat, in the Oxford Road area of town, includes one bedroom, a living room, kitchen and bathroom, all of which need improvement.

The average price of a house in Hartlepool stands at £74,702.

That is significantly less than the average for England and Wales which is £162,080, according to the latest figures from the Land Registry.

A one-bedroom flat in the West London borough of Ealing ranges from £84,000 to £410,000.

Last year, a terraced house in Stoke, Staffs, was put up for sale for the nominal price of £1.