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krustie allslop

Market's Goodbye To £10,000 House

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Remember when houses in the UK cost, on average, £10,000?

It was a long time ago - 1974 in fact.

Until very recently a few £10,000 houses could still be found, in the North West of England.

According to figures published by the Land Registry, only four properties in England and Wales were sold for less than £10,000 in the last three months of 2005.

All were terraced houses, one in Salford and three in Burnley.

What can you get for £10,000?

Not much, it seems.

Those ten thousand pound houses, sold last year, probably went at auction.

Bairstow Eves Countrywide is now asking £20,000 at auction for a boarded up two-up, two-down terraced house in Burnley.

Local branch manager Melanie Eastwood says that is now the rock bottom price for something that may be barely habitable.

"The market's booming," she said. "Our phones don't stop. It's like a whirlwind at the moment."

Mike Woods, managing director of Burnley's Scott & Co estate agency, says things have been changing fast.

"Two years ago you could easily pick up a stone built, 2-bed terrace, for ten grand. Prices have gone up an awful lot.

"Now you'd pay £30,000 for one that needed to be refurbished. If it was in good condition and in a good location you'd pay about £50 - £60,000".

The council has been using European Union money to regenerate the town. It's been buying up old houses in more downmarket parts of town and then knocking them down.

"Thousands of homes are being bought up and knocked down all over town. Their owners are being bought out at the full market price" says Mike Woods.

"Plus they are being given £20,000 to move. So they are becoming cash buyers in the local market."

The prospect of a quick buck is bringing in buy-to-let investors, often from London.

Florence Bradshaw, who runs Entwistle Green estate agents, says buyers are being attracted by the town's reputation as the country's property cheap-spot.

"The majority of our buyers come from outside town. Investors buy boarded-up properties as investments and they put in tenants hoping they will go up in price over the next five years."

Back in the 70s

According to the Nationwide building society, which has been measuring these things since the early 1950s, it was in the second quarter of 1974 that the average property in the UK last cost ten grand - £10,025 to be precise.

Back then properties were even cheaper in certain parts of the country, especially the North West.

There, the average price was still just £8,213.

And it wasn't until the end of 1976 that prices there went through the ten thousand pound level.

The average price in the region now? Just under £145,000.

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