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Online House Hunter: Braving the storm

Alan Cleaver
trowbridge 300x260 Online House Hunter: Braving the storm

Homes in Wiltshire have weathered the property storm better than most

A CRYSTAL ball would be good. Time Travel even better. Certainly an ability to foresee where the UK housing market is going would make you very rich – or at least prevent you losing tens of thousands of pounds in that longterm investment in bricks and mortar.

Sadly, neither Mystic Meg nor HG Wells can help us. We have to buy a house on other factors: where we want to live, close to our family or work. Or if it’s buying to invest, using as much business advice as possible.

Hidden in the last Halifax Price Review was, however, an interesting table which does at least reveal which areas have fared best in the last three years. The table shows the areas with the smallest falls in house prices over the last three years.

Top of the table was Wiltshire with a drop of just four per cent, then Hampshire with a five per cent drop and third was Brighton & Hove with a fall in the average house price of seven per cent.

Of course, drops in prices are not what most house owners want to hear – the only consolation is that in the bursting of the property bubble these areas didn’t do as badly as everywhere else.

The counties of Wiltshire and Hampshire offer good transport links by rail or road to major cities while also offering some peaceful countryside to relax in at evenings or weekends. Brighton and Hove never ceases to be a favourite with the London office worker who also enjoys a cosmopolitan life and a chance for a walk along the beach.

A two-bedroom apartment for sale in Trowbridge, the county town of Wiltshire, hovers around the £100,000 mark and this two-bedroom terraced property in West Street (pictured) is on the market for £124,950. Head to that other historic Wiltshire town of Salisbury and you’ll find this two-bedroom terraced property on the market for £195,000.

Hampshire’s major centres include Winchester, Basingstoke, Southampton and Portsmouth. Basingstoke remains the preferred location for most London commuters and this two-bedroom terrace is close enough to the train station to allow a lie-in. Those looking for a family home in a more rural location might consider this four-bedroom home at Sherborne St John, on the market for £775,000.

Southampton and Portsmouth are as divided as the opposing football fans (Saints and Pompey). Portsmouth has the history and the naval docks, while Southampton has the commercial docks and a more modern look. This four-bedroom house in the old town of Portsmouth, for example, is on the market for £750,000. Offers in excess of £300,000 are sought for this four-bedroom home in the Woolston neighbourhood of Southampton. But if you can’t decide on an allegiance to Saints or Pompey yet, then settle for a location halfway at Fareham. This four-bedroom house at Fareham is on the market for £495,000.

And before you rush off to invest in properties in these locations, do I really need to add that past performance is no guarantee of future results? Probably best!

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