Belfast Telegraph

'It's a good place to start off for first-time buyers'

By Gerald Lennon

Residents from Carrickfergus seemed pleasantly surprised to find out it is one of the best market towns in the UK.

Looking at average earnings, house prices, access to services, crime figures, the skill level of the local population and unemployment figures, the Co Antrim market town comes out top in Northern Ireland.

Joel Mann (72), a retired shopkeeper who has spent the last 23 years living in Carrick, says he checks property websites three to four times a week and noticed properties have stayed at a lower price.

Joel (right) says crime in Carrick is low, with the worst personal incident happening 16 years ago.

He said: "We planted a Canadian Maple in the garden, woke up one morning and it was gone. The hole that was left was so neat that I'm not sure how they did it."

Brian Savage and his wife Elizabeth have lived in Broadlands for the past 16 years.

Brian (59), a retired aircraft quality engineer, was astonished to hear that employment is high in Carrick.

He added: "Employment used to be higher when the likes of (former chemical giant) ICI was around here, but there are no real engineering companies here now.

"You can get local electricians, plumbers, a lot of local people with good skills, no problem.

"Me personally, I would put crime right up there over the last couple of years. We have a lot of drug dealing problems in Carrick," added Brian.

Joanna Morrison (49) has lived in Carrick for seven years. She was not surprised the town scored well on house prices and a good work-life balance. She added: "A lot of the houses are quite big, so you need to be working to pay the mortgage.

"Houses definitely aren't worth as much as they were a couple of years ago but it's a good place for first-time buyers starting off."

Belfast Telegraph

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