West of England showing real estate market recovery

The West Country is leading the property recovery in England with parts of Somerset, Wiltshire and Devon showing positive growth, according to a new report.

A comparison of property prices performance in the last six months compared with the last half of 2008, also shows that the north is struggling the most but affluent areas like Cheshire and Suffolk are also amongst the worse performers.

North Somerset leads the way with prices up 1.4% this year followed by Wiltshire, up 1.24%, Plymouth up 0.77%, Bath up 0.39% and Oxfordshire, up 0.08%, according to the report from Zoopla.co.uk, a leading house price information website.

The steepest property price falls were in Northumberland where they plummeted 9.21%, Herefordshire which fell 7.86%, Cheshire with a decline of 7.43%, Shropshire with a 7.25% fall and Suffolk which was down 6.12%.

The report shows that whilst property values were in freefall in almost all areas of the country towards the end of last year, the rate of decline so far this year has significantly slowed with some areas experiencing positive growth over the first six months of the year.

However, the research also shows that the performance during the first half of 2009 should perhaps not yet be cause for celebration, given that over the past two years the decline in house prices in the last six months of the year was significantly worse than during the first half of the year.

Overall the report indicates that property prices in England are down by 3.22% since 1st January of this year to a current average home value of £207,020, a marked improvement over the drop of 11.97% in the second half of last year.

And in London house prices have fallen by just under the national average, down 2.56% so far this year, to an average home value currently standing at £362,812 compared to a fall of 11.12% in the last six months of 2008.

'Whilst optimism around a full market recovery may well be somewhat premature, there are clearly some bright spots emerging in the market and the overall pace of house price decline has slowed noticeably compared to last year which is good news for homeowners,' said Alex Chesterman, CEO of Zoopla.co.uk.

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