ACCRINGTON has been hailed as a boom town after house prices soared by a whopping 54 per cent over the past year.
The town has been placed third in the top 10 UK property hotspots according to the latest house price index released by the Halifax, with only Crewe and Carlisle seeing bigger price increases.
But with the average house in Accrington now costing £103,340, many first-time buyers are finding properties in the borough are simply out of their reach.
Jonathan Swinn, proprietor of Hyndburn-based Buy the House estate agents, said: "Some houses have doubled in value in the last year, particularly at the lower end of the market, and that closes it for first-time buyers.
"We have had a lot of investors coming into the town in the last few years. Traditionally Hyndburn has been quite an inexpensive place to buy a house, which has attracted investors from all over the place including London and Manchester and it has contributed to pushing the house prices up.
"It's not unusual for a terraced house to be on the market for £80,000 to £100,000, which is way too high for most first-time buyers. Two years ago you could get something quite decent for under £60,000 but now you are struggling to find anything which does not need a lot of renovation."
Mr Swinn said many young couples were being forced to rent as they couldn't afford to buy and as a result there was added pressure on the rented sector.
He added: "Whatever people decide to do, it is costing far more than it has ever done. "
Mike Ramsbottom, director at Mortimers estate agents and chartered surveyors, said: "There will be cases where the increase is more than 54 per cent in certain parts of the market.
"We have had people from other areas coming in and trying to buy in Accrington because it has been cheaper than other areas, putting pressure on the market here.
"For people trying to get on the property ladder it is very hard. There is a lot of interest from buy-to-let investors, taking houses away from the market."
The North West has topped the property hotspots list with four of the region's towns - Crewe, Accrington, Chorley and Oldham - making it into the top 10. The average price of houses in the North West is now £120,995.
The smallest house price rises have been in Dorset, where they have gone up by just seven per cent, County Down and East Sussex, with eight per cent, and Essex, with 10 per cent.