A town in Northern Ireland has suffered the biggest crash in house prices of anywhere in the UK over the past year.
The average cost of a home in Craigavon is now £91,530 — down 18.4% from £108,370 this time last year, according to figures from Halifax released today.
The Co Armagh town topped the poll of the 10 worst affected areas, with the other nine — including second place Wishaw which saw a 12.5% decrease — all located in north England or Scotland.
Compared to other recent figures on property prices across the Northern Ireland over the past year, the average property in Craigavon has fallen approximately five times more than the average.
Last month, a University of Ulster report showed the average cost of a home here was down 3.6% on last year to just under £139,000.
A leading Northern Ireland estate agent said areas worst affected here were those with the largest ratio of properties to potential buyers.
David McIlveen of Ulster Property Sales told the Belfast Telegraph: “There could be any amount of reasons for Craigavon being hardest hit.
“The fact is if there are more properties for sale than what there are buyers it becomes a case of supply and demand.
“There could be other environmental factors influencing what is happening in Craigavon but excess stock has the biggest impact.”
Mr McIlveen said that while there appears to be no signs of short-term recovery in the property market here, he said that he was certain there will be an improvement in the not too distant future.
“This is just another market which is very much driven by cycles and the time will come again when properties are increasing in value — it will happen,” he said.
“Whenever the stock of properties reduces and buyers increases again the whole thing will turn around.”
Southend in Essex recorded the biggest rise in house prices among major UK towns and cities over the past year, according to the research by Halifax.\[Gordon Millar\]The average selling price in the seaside resort was 14.8% higher than the previous year, rising to £198,418 by the end of 2012, compared with an improvement of 2.1% on average across the whole of Essex.
\[Gordon Millar\]Basingstoke in Hampshire experienced the second biggest rise in house prices with a 14.7% gain, while three more towns within commuting distance of London — Rochester, St Albans and Dartford — make up the top five.
Nine of the 10 towns which saw the biggest declines in prices are outside the South, reflecting the continued regional divide in the property market.
UK towns with biggest falls in average house prices:
Craigavon down 18.4% (to £91,530)
Wishaw 12.5% (£87,410)
Chorley 9.4% (£125,156)
Carlisle 9.3% (£123,100)
Wirral 9.3% (£160,375)
Hamilton 8.9% (£96,478)
Ayr 8.2% (£116,352)