Homeowners in the fastest-growing parts of the UK have seen the value of their properties more than treble over the decade to 2008 while those in poorer areas lagged far behind, according to research by Halifax, the mortgage lender.
Its report came as a US private equity firm, JC Flowers, backed a new business, Castle Trust, that will offer investments to private and institutional investors providing access to UK house price returns and mortgages. The management team is led by Sean Oldfield and is chaired by a former chairman of the Financial Services Authority, Sir Callum McCarthy, who is one of seven non-executive directors reports The Guardian.
Oldfield said: “The housing market is the largest asset class in the UK, worth in excess of £4,000bn, most of which has previously been unavailable to investors. Castle Trust has been designed to help customers with the two most important financial decisions in their lives – investing their savings and buying their home.”
According to Halifax, in the 10 areas with the highest economic growth – including London, Belfast, Cambridgeshire, Edinburgh, Cornwall, Glasgow and Liverpool – the average house price leapt by 219% from £67,178 in 1998 to £214,162 in 2008.
Inner east London, which includes Canary Wharf and the boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Hackney, topped the list with the biggest gain in economic activity and a 236% house price increase over that decade. This compares with a 195% increase in average prices, from £56,018 to £165,430, in the slowest-growing areas such as Thurrock , Coventry, Stoke-on-Trent and Blackpool. The average house price in the 10 fastest-growing areas in 2008 was 61% higher than the average in the 10 locations with the lowest levels of activity.
Suren Thiru, economist at Halifax, said: “Unsurprisingly, house price growth over the past decade has been stronger in the areas that have seen the biggest increases in economic activity. The north-south divide that has opened up with the outperformance of the market in southern England appears to reflect the stronger economic performance of these regions.”
Since 2008, when the financial crisis struck, house prices have also fared better in the most economically resilient areas. House prices have fallen by 24%, on average, in the ten areas with the biggest rises in unemployment, which include Kingston upon Hull, Belfast and Blackpool. This is almost double the average 13% decline in house prices in the ten areas that recorded the smallest increases in unemployment since 2008 – including Oxfordshire, Dorset and Cambridgeshire.
Seven of the ten areas that have seen the smallest falls in economic activity over the last three years are in southern England. In contrast, all ten locations that have recorded the largest falls in economic activity are in the north.