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The North may be lighting up the house sale statistics, but the number of homes changing hands is still down by almost half in the past 10 years.
Bury leads the way with a massive 44% surge in sales in the first six months of 2011, compared with the same time last year.
According to figures from the Halifax, 572 homes were sold in Bury in the first half of 2011, up from 398 last year – but 42% down on the 978 sold in the same period of 2001.
The lender claims that 77% of the rising market in the Lancashire town was driven by more sales of cheaper flats and houses.
Nine out of the 10 towns with the worst fall in housing sales in the past year are in the south – with Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, seeing the market plummet by 39%, against an average fall for England and Wales of just 9%.
Other towns with big house sale increases last year are Leigh, Greater Manchester (32%) and Rugeley, Staffordshire (30%). Outside the north, the seaside town of Great Yarmouth returned the biggest increase in home sales (27%).
The number of homes sold in England and Wales fell by 49% during the past ten years, from 532,709 in the first half of 2001 to 271,113 over the same period in 2011.
Suren Thiru, Halifax housing economist, said: “A number of towns have experienced a significant rise in home sales over the past year despite the more subdued picture across the country as a whole. Many of the top performing towns are in the north, reflecting a reversal of 2010 when the housing market in southern England outperformed the north.
“The relatively favourable levels of affordability in many of the top performing northern towns have helped to support housing market activity in these locations, albeit from historically low levels.”
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