Confusion over survey

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ESTATE agents have expressed surprise at figures showing that Wigan house prices rose faster than anywhere else in the country during 2011.

The borough was this week named the shock property hotspot of the last year in Zoopla.co.uk’s house price league of the UK’s major towns and cities.

It claims that prices rose by 5.62 per cent - an average increase of more than £7,000.

But despite the jump, Zoopla says house prices in the area are still the cheapest in the top 10 best performing towns and cities in the UK over the last 12 months, with the average value of a property in Wigan now at £132,517.

This makes property in the town cheap compared to other areas in the local vicinity. According to the data, the average house price in the North West, where Wigan is situated, is £155,386.

However, the average house in the region fell -3.21 per cent, losing £5,151 in value, so Wigan has fared extremely well in comparison.

But Joel Edgerton, Regan and Hallworth’s Wigan branch manager, said: “If you look at the Wigan Land Register figures, prices have actually fallen. The price of the average detached home at the beginning of the year was £186,000 and by the end was £180,000.

“The overall figure for average property prices was £97,188 last January and £94,491 by November, having risen slightly on the month before.

“Right Move too have been saying that property prices have been rising but there can be a difference between asking prices and what is agreed on completion.

“The market was certainly stronger in 2011 than it had been since 2007 with sales up 10 per cent. Things are pretty stable and while we are not quite sure how Zoopla arrived at its figures the signs are encouraging and the table is positive news.”

Amanda Ahlgreen, sales director and valuer for the MHL estate agency, said: “Perhaps these figures are based on asking prices rather than completion prices but it’s still a big difference between what Zoopla is saying and what we are finding. If anything prices have dropped.

“The last thing we need is everyone to think that the prices have risen when they haven’t because that then just puts a dampener on the market.”

According to Zoopla, other strong performers last year include Aberdeen, in Scotland, which saw house prices increase by 4.3 per cent, or £8,636, and Ipswich in Suffolk, where values jumped 3.84 per cent, or £6,866.

These areas all outperformed London percentage wise. The average home in the capital is now worth £416,890, up 2.28 per cent on a year ago.

However, prices were still up £9,283 on average, making London the best performing town or city in the UK last year in terms of a value increase. And the figures do not break the capital down into prime and popular vs less loved boroughs, with the former having seen larger gains over the year.