BOLTON is a tale of two towns as new figures show that the huge difference in property prices between the cheapest and most expensive streets ranges from £32,667 to £608,333. Reporter Jeremy Culley looks at both ends of the scale.
THE cheapest place to buy a house in Greater Manchester is in Bolton, according to new figures.
Statistics from the Land Registry reveal it costs just £32,667 to buy a terraced house in Cecilia Street, Great Lever.
And three other Bolton streets also fall into the region’s cheapest 15.
The next cheapest street in Greater Manchester is Ben Street, in Clayton, where houses cost £33,250.
Streets in Oldham, Manchester and Spring Street, in Bury, had an average price in 2013 of £45,333.
Most of the terraced houses in Cecilia Street are rented out, with only a few inhabited by the owners.
The homes have no driveways or “green” features, with an old factory building at one end and a modern block of flats at the other.
Residents said the “horrible” street had no real positives and that they were looking to move away as soon as possible.
Matthew Ward said: “I’m from Westhoughton but I’ve been here six months and it’s awful.
“The only good thing is that my brother lives opposite.
“We’re actually looking at some different places now, a bit closer to the town centre.
“I would not recommend that anyone move here.”
Nicola Banks, another resident, added: “The rent is quite high for us, at £110 per week for our house. The police are round here all the time, nearly every other day, putting doors through.
“I’ve been here only six months, but I moved out for three because I hated it that much.”
Estate agents said there were many reasons why the prices of older, terraced houses were falling.
Keith Lancaster, from Lancaster’s estate agents, based in Winter Hey Lane, Horwich, said: “Youngsters don’t want terraced houses any more and you can get a modest semi-detached house for about £90,000 now.
“The age of the houses round there is another factor, as older ones are more expensive to heat and there is greater thermal efficiency in modern homes.”
According to police statistics, there were 49 reported incidents in Cecilia Street in 2013 — including six incidents of violent crime, four violent sexual offences and 23 incidents of anti-social behaviour.
Great Lever ward councillor Mohammed Ayub said he was aware of the problems in Cecilia Street and that the council was working to improve the area.
He added: “The problem in Cecilia Street is it has mainly rented properties and there are a few landlords who don’t seem to care who lives in them.
"It is on our radar and we are working to improve things. We have held surgeries there and have asked for a police presence. I think this is an exception — in general Great Lever is a nice place to live.”
How the other half live
BOLTON is also home to one of Greater Manchester’s priciest roads, according to latest Land Registry figures.
The average price of a house in Regent Road, Lostock, in 2013 was a mammoth £608,333, the 13th most expensive road in Greater Manchester.
The leafy, tree-lined avenue was the only Bolton road to be have a place in Greater Manchester’s top 15, which was dominated by Altrincham, which had 11 of the region’s priciest streets, including the top eight.
Chapel Lane, Altrincham, is the most expensive street, with a 2013 average price of more than £1.3 million.
Residents in Regent Road, Lostock, including Cllr Martyn Cox, the Bolton councillor for Westhoughton South, who lives just off the road, hailed the area for its links to Middlebrook Retail Park and Lostock railway station.
He said a mixture of cheaper and more expensive housing is essential if Bolton is to remain a diverse town.
Cllr Cox added: “Bolton needs areas to attract people without much money, such as new immigrants and the young labour workforce, but also areas to attract businessmen and executives.
“I have lived here for about 10 years and this was where my parents lived, after they started marriied life in a onebed flat in Farnworth.
“This area is attractive and leafy but it is also perfectly located. It is close to the motorway without being next to it, it is near Middlebrook, without being next door.
“Lostock railway station is a fantastic station and it is just down the road.
“There is a degree of aspiration about areas such as Lostock and Bromley Cross, which is healthy for people as they are growing up.”
Roy Walmsley, former chairman of Lostock Residents’ Association, added: “We moved here in 1966 and have really loved living here.
“It is nice that the golf course at the back of the house means we know nobody can build on it. It is also a very attractive view out of the back.
Lostock has always been a pleasant area to live.
“I was brought up in Deane and it is amazing to hear that houses along here are worth that much.”
Regent Road is less than a mile from Bolton School and is also home to Lostock Club.
Another resident, Pat Hedley, said: “My husband and I are retired and we will only move once now if we did.
“But why do we need to move from here? It’s a nice family home in a great location.”
Keith Lancaster, of Lancaster’s estate agents, agreed that Lostock’s links to Middlebrook and the motorways were important, but also stressed the importance of schools in driving up property value.
He said: “There are £250,000 semi-detached houses in Regent Road. It is far from all £1 million mansions.
“You would be amazed how important schools are, as parents select areas such as Lostock, Blackrod and Horwich purely because they know the kids will go to a good school.
"You can walk down the road in Regent Road and in two minutes be on the way to Manchester by rail for work and shopping.
“People might not need a second car because of that and that often makes a difference.”
One house in the street sold in February, 2013, for £825,000, according to property information website Zoopla.