Did Islington house prices rise by 13% in 2020?
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Islington has recorded the UK's highest house price growth of 2020 - but estate agents in the borough have questioned whether the figures reflect the reality on the ground.
The price of the average property in the borough rose by 13.4 per cent to £727,922 last year, according to the bank Halifax, whose house price index is the longest running in the UK with data covering the whole country and going back to 1983.
Sean Ward, an agent at Winkworth in Upper Street, found 2020 to be a "strange year", and while he did see a lot of demand for houses at the higher end, he thinks prices actually decreased by about five pc for one- and two-bed flats.
He told the Gazette: "Houses were performing unbelievably well around the Highbury area, and we were taking on places, holding open houses at the weekend and they were gone pretty much straight away.
"Our Highbury and Islington offices had their best year on record."
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He cites the case of a three-bed property in Canonbury Park South, which sold for £1.75 million, coming out at just over £1,500 per square foot.
Mr Ward estimates the same property would have sold for about £100,000 less the year before, when there was a lot less demand, which would indicate a six pc rise. He thinks flats meanwhile, reduced by about five pc.
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"A lot of people were deciding that because they were working from home, they needed more space, so buyers had a lot to choose from and you needed to reduce the price to generate more interest solely because the market was saturated by those type of properties," he said.
Another property agent, who wanted to remain anonymous, said they hadn't seen any notable rise at all.
"The figures mystify me somewhat," they said.
"What I did notice dramatically was towards the end of 2019, post-election, and going into the early months of 2020, there was definitely an upsurge in demand and again that happened in July after the restart post-lockdown.
"Demand for property grew undoubtedly - but in terms of an actual price increase, I wouldn’t say that was noticeable.
"A 13pc price rise in Islington would be significant when the average house price is £850,000...but I'm not seeing that.
"It has been up and down, but it is a tough market. Bigger properties are definitely more popular."
At the other end of the scale, the price of an average home in Paisley, in the west of Glasgow, decreased by 1.7pc to £138,036.
A spokesperson from Halifax said: "Our house price winners research uses the arithmetic average price of houses on which an offer of mortgage has been granted.
"Individual property prices can of course vary significantly, with higher value homes increasing the overall average for an area."