Author Topic: 2 Bedroom - terraced house newcastle Current bid: £501  (Read 428 times)

Offline thaiga

  • Korat forum specialist
  • *****
  • Posts: 16097
At £501, is this the UK's cheapest house?Unloved end-terrace shows the gulf between UK prices - but also the opportunities for those prepared to leave the over-heated south east

It's boarded-up, next to a railway line and with graffiti scrawled across one wall, but the price of a two-bedroom terrace in the county Durham village of Ferryhill is still fairly staggering.

£501. That's where bidding stands for 29 Church Street, a small but sturdy redbrick property in a quiet turning (apart from the trains) within a short walk of a primary school and shops, a slightly longer one to a sports centre and a couple of miles' drive to the A1M motorway to Durham and Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

That's not to say that anyone will get it for that; the reserve price is £10,000 and a similar-size house in the same street, also empty and in need of major repairs, sold for £18,500 several months ago. But the house opposite has been demolished and the landlords who used to rent out No.29 are unlikely to hold out for anything too exciting.

Bids started at £1 a month ago – "a competitive level to generate interest," say auctioneers and estate agents Robinson's – and have taken all that time to snail up to the current figure. If further bidding fails to reach the reserve, which seems all but inevitable, the property will be auctioned in the traditional way at Hardwick Hall hotel in Sedgefield, former Prime Minister Tony Blair's old constituency, on Tuesday 27 March..

That would likely see it go to a property company for either repairs or a place in a 'house bank' pending better times; but Robinson's hopes that a private buyer might still get in first with an acceptable offer. George Robinson, the firm's principal, says:

It may not be the prettiest property you'll ever see but it has huge potential. This is a genuine once in a lifetime offer and would be great for a young couple starting out in life who couldn't afford to get on the housing ladder.

And his regional manager Steven Frampton tells the Northern Echo:

For someone with the time and wherewithal it could be turned around and again be a great starter or family home.

This is borne out by neighbours in Church Street who like living there, and by the success of recent regeneration in Ferryhill, which has seen a shared ownership scheme by the housing association Three Rivers do very well. Other properties currently on the market in the village include a three-bed semi and a three-bed bungalow, both at £79,950.

Even these prices highlight the chasm between property prices in prosperous and struggling parts of the country, which 29 Church Street takes to extraordinary lengths. But they also illustrate the value-for-money awaiting anyone prepared to up sticks from the overheated south east of the UK and bring their energy to part of the world which in other respects has a better quality of life.

Durham's former mining villages such as Ferryhill are a famous case in point, as Peter Crookston describes in his excellent book The Pitmen's Requiem, which tells the story of the brass band tune Gresford and the society which produced it. With the best of intentions, Labour-controlled Durham county council tried to demolish ex-pit villages in the 1960s and decant their people to a new town – even calling it Peterlee after a famous NUM leader.

Notices condemning terrace houses similar to 29 Church Street as unfit for human habitation were removed and replaced with posters reading 'Peterlee is a nightmare, not a dream'. Labour lost so many council seats to independents that the plan was withdrawn. People liked living in the villages, just as they generally do today in Ferryhill, whose long and interesting history you can read about here.
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.