Helping to close the housing wealth gap

TIM JORDAN, HEAD OF RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY, FORSHAWS DAVIES RIDGWAY

It is interesting to reflect on house prices and the demand for property in the past couple of years.

Many forecasters predicted a north-south divide, with prices and demand in the South-East falling quickest and steepest. This proved correct as northern England saw less dramatic dips.

But one thing I have noticed in Cheshire where I live – and it’s reflected across the country – is the divide within local areas.

Cheshire has always been an anomaly in that there are wealthy areas around Chester and those with a much lower average income such as Runcorn and Ellesmere Port. This divide has become more striking in the past couple of years.

Within just a couple of miles of our offices in Warrington striking differences can be seen. Areas where properties cost £300,000-plus have seen a marginal dip in prices whereas properties in lower income areas have lost as much as 25% of their value.

The reason for this appears to be that wealthier buyers have cash to fund purchases and deposits whereas in lower income areas the lack of high LTV mortgages has hit folk hard.

The gap between the have-deposits and the have-nots is wider than ever, with the latter unable to move due to lack of mortgages and falling house prices. Without a change in government policy this gap will grow.

So despite all the talk of dual pricing, only brokers who can dig out the best deals can help close the divide.