WIGAN homeowners are facing hard times as property prices suffered a fall of almost five per cent in a year.
Latest figures released by the Land Registry show that the average house in the borough is going on the market for £87,464, which is 4.6 per cent less than this time last year.
This figure makes Wigan the second lowest out of 10 Greater Manchester authorities in terms of prices.
The decline comes despite a dramatic rise in values down south, where there was an increase by 9.3 per cent in the same period – between September 2012 and September 2013 – in London.
And even in southern parts of Greater Manchester, such as Stockport or Trafford, prices have shot up to 1.3 per cent and 3 per cent respectively.
Estate agents have said that the price drop in former mill towns, such as Wigan, had come despite increases in the number of sales, with some blaming the figures on large numbers of unpopular terraced houses.
With an increase in first-time buyers, particularly with the Help to Buy scheme, terraced properties are becoming less attractive, especially for buy-to-let landlords.
As a result, some houses are selling for around £40,000, which drags the overall figures down.
However, house prices are still expected to keep rising throughout 2014 with the use of the government’s Help to Buy Scheme.
It allows first time buyers to put down just five per cent of the house value with a 20 per cent loan from the government and a 75 per cent mortgage on property prices up to £600,000.
Some experts fear that with the housing prices increasing along with the Help to Buy Scheme, Britain may experience a Housing Bubble. This is when property values rise rapidly to an unsustainable level and then begin to decrease. To stop this, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors advise that there should be a five per cent cap on annual house price growth. This could prevent buyers accruing too much debt.