Â£15k to Â£3m: Harsh reality of the Lancashire property gulf
It costs less than the price of the average wedding or a new car.
But locals can’t understand how a Preston flat on the market for just £15,000 has become the cheapest on the market in the whole country.
Online estate agents HouseSimple.com, which carried out a survey of the cheapest homes in the UK, found the one-bed second-floor flat in Grange Avenue, Ribbleton to be the cheapest around.
With an average wedding costing more than £20,000, you could buy the home and still have £5,000 left for your special day.
And the home, which is one of 40 flats in the block, is in good company with several properties on the road coming in at under £20,000 - meaning it comes in as one of the cheapest roads in the country.
But Preston City councillor for Ribbleton, Brian Rollo, believes the area isn’t to blame for the low prices.
He said: “I’m not surprised at the low price because as some of these flats have been on the market a long time. But I don’t think it’s anything to do with the area and there’s some good flats. There’s a few of them on the market too so I think that may make people think there’s something wrong with them, but there isn’t. It’s a good opportunity for someone.”
The flats come with a service charge which sees the company keep the hallways and building clean and tidy.
And fellow Ribbleton councillor Nick Pomfret believes it could put people off. He said: “These properties are great if you want to get on the property ladder. The service charge could put people off as it would be a sizeable chunk of a monthly income and if you’re wanting a cheap property it might put you off.”
The average salary in Preston sits at £23,060, according to jobs website Adzuna, which analysed more than 800,000 jobs advertised on the website this year. This means that to buy the flat outright it would costs the average Prestonian 65% of their annual salary. Others things that could be bought for £15,000 are a Mini Cooper One or a once in a lifetime holiday to the Maldives for 10 days.
Glenn Priestly, a sales director at Preston estate agents Kingswood, explained how the price of the flats became the lowest of the low.
He said: “There are lots of similar houses on the market and what happens is lots of people are competing to have the lowest price. If the flats are very similar then someone looking to buy one will obviously go for the cheapest.
“That forces the price down and it just gets lower and lower. These have been on the market a long time and the low price is intended to get a quick sale. The housing market has been on a decline since 2007 although it’s slowly getting better and we may see these properties snapped up soon with the possible rise in value just over the hill.”
The flats come in stark contrast to the multi-million pound properties available just a few miles down the road with bathrooms built for the price of the Ribbleton home.
Coming in at nearly £3m, Lancashire’s elite are on the hunt for something a little different. And with six bedrooms and five reception rooms, a £2.25m house in Treales near Preston could fit the bill.
Despite only being seven miles away from the Ribbleton estate, it is described as a “fine gentleman’s residence, imposing yet graceful” with the tennis courts and nearly six acres of land a far cry from the bargain Preston flat.
The secluded property is set back from the road and requires a more than modest deposit of £225,000. That’s a monthly repayment of around £11,000 on a 25 year mortgage.
Not affordable for most and Alex Gosling, CEO of online estate agents HouseSimple.com, explained why starting off in the cheapest property the UK has to offer may not be a bad idea.
He said: “They may not be much to look at, and they may need a little TLC, but it does seem crazy in this day and age, when the average UK house price is over £200,000, that you can still buy a property for a tenth of that price.
“Even if you decide these properties are not to your taste, £20,000 could be a very nice deposit towards your dream property.”