PROSPECTIVE new homeowners in Bolton are facing a £5,000 increase in the average cost of properties compared to last year.

It comes as the latest figures show a 2.2 per cent rise in the value of houses across the country, reversing a trend of falling prices going back to 2016.

The figures ­— revealed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the latest UK House Prices Index ­— show the average cost of a home in Bolton in December 2019 was £140,800, up from £135,300 in the same period in 2018. This remains well below the national average of £251,700.

However, this increase in the value of homes has come alongside a drop in the number of property sales across the borough.

In December 2018, there were 354 houses sold across Bolton but this number fell to 273 last year.

Andrew Cardwell, managing director at Cardwells Estate Agents, in Institute Street, said the figures would be a boost for people who have their own properties.

He said: “This information should come as great news for the homeowners of Bolton as they can see that their property’s value is increasing, which is in sharp contrast to the rest of England and Wales which have seen a fall.”

Analysing the figures, Mr Cardwell said the comparative rise in prices across Bolton was likely down to recent investment and development in the town.

“This market defying performance is probably linked to a number of social, political and economic factors,” he said.

“One of the specific reasons will be the positive impact of the superb investment in Bolton, particularly at Logistics North which is the home to Amazon and a number of other large employer’s such as Aldi, Whistl and Lidl. There are an increasing number of employment opportunities in Bolton and with that comes an increasing number of people who are likely to want to purchase property in our town, so therefore there is an increased amount of demand for the properties that are for sale.

“This, in conjunction with a falling volume in supply of property to the market, has meant that there has been upward pressure on the prices across the town, which has led to the increase in property valuations as detailed by the report.

December was the first month since February 2018 that prices increased in all regions and countries across the UK. As a result, these figures are being seen by some as a sign of major change within the housing market.

Ross Counsell, director of property sales firm Good Move, believes the change in costs is the result of a more settled outlook for the property market following December’s General Election.

“Last year’s election, which secured a majority government for the Conservatives, has gone some way to assuring buyers and sellers that the property market is stable, and the same can be said now that the UK has left the European Union,” he said.

“With uncertainty receding, confidence has somewhat returned in the market, leading to an increase in house prices.”

Mr Counsell also pointed to specific circumstances in Bolton that he thinks may have driven up the cost of some houses.

“For Bolton in particular, as well as having great schooling options and proximity to beautiful countryside, recent investment from huge businesses like Logistics North shows a vote of confidence in the town, making the area more attractive to prospective buyers,” he said.

“Additionally, the price increase might be due to the relative scarcity of properties for sale in the town, seemingly as a result of Brexit uncertainty, leading to higher demand.

“At the moment, it’s a seller’s market, with more people looking to buy than there are houses available.”

There has also been an increase in the cost of newly-built properties across the North West. The average cost of a new home has risen by 1.5 per cent, with a property now costing more than £225,400.