House prices nationwide may be on the up but figures have been released showing Accrington as one of the cheapest places to live in England.
Homes in the town are the second cheapest in the country, according to a survey conducted by the Halifax bank.
Regeneration bosses have blamed government austerity measures for Accrington’s housing prices failing to reflect increases elsewhere in the country, but insist the figures do not show the whole picture.
Coun Clare Cleary, Hyndburn council’s cabinet member for housing, said the average house price figures can give a ‘distorted’ picture in a place like Hyndburn.
She said: “We have such a large number of smaller two-bedroomed terraced houses, and these are often at the lower end of the price range.
“This does not mean, of course, that the housing market is different here from anywhere else in the north of England, simply that the larger number of smaller houses sold in the area impacts on the statistics.”
The authors of the report looked at changes in house prices based on the average price for a square metre in 295 UK towns.
On average, homes in Accrington sell for £935 per square metre. Kensington and Chelsea in London, topped the list where property is valued at £10,854 per metre square.
Stanley in Durham came bottom of the list with properties selling for an average of £818 per square metre.
Coun Cleary said latest figures from the Land Registry showed the average house price in the Accrington area was £99,300.
She added: “The upside of having a predominantly terraced stock is that it is still possible for people to buy a relatively affordable house. Having said that, we have put a lot of effort in over the past few years, talking to developers about diversifying the housing stock by building more three and four-bedroomed houses in the area.
“Right now, we have active discussions with developers about several sites across the borough where we expect this sort of development to take place.
"This is exactly what happened along Blackburn Road in Accrington where we demolished some of the old terraces and replaced them with newer larger houses, these have proved very popular with buyers and virtually everything that has been built there over the past three years has sold within months of going up for sale.”
Lorna Sharp, of Sharp’s estate agents in Accrington, said Accrington as an area is relatively competitive in price. She said: “We’ve heard reports today that house prices are going up, but we’re still seeing properties being reduced and offers coming in under the asking price.
“In terms of overall house value, I think Accrington is much further up the scale, than in terms of price per metre squared. When you look at Burnley and other parts of the country, their house prices are far cheaper.”
Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson said living standards are difficult due to austerity.
He said: “The problem we have is that there is a surplus of terraced housing in the area, and the government funding to redevelop these properties is gone.
“For people raising a family, their goal in a dream home is to have space. What we need to do is attract young professionals who are trying to get on to the property ladder and show them that, compared to metropolitan areas, that can achieve more in Hyndburn.”
Edward Snowden, director at Mortimers Estate Agents on Blackburn Road in Accrington, said house prices have steadied over the last few months.
He added: “There’s certain pockets of the town, where regeneration hasn’t gone ahead after council revenue was cut after the economic downturn and that pulls down the average. But Hyndburn is a great place to live.”