North-South divide narrows after house prices double in Yorkshire

House prices in Yorkshire have more than doubled in the past decade, according to new research which reveals there is still a clear north south divide in property values.

Analysis by the Halifax revealed that since the Millennium the gap in property prices between North and South has narrowed. Houses prices in the North rose by an average of 102 per cent compared with 75 per cent in the South.

The average price for a Southern property is 206,091 - 56 per cent higher than the cost of a Northern home (132,163). Ten years ago prices in the South were 80 per cent higher than in the North.

But there are signs the gap is widening again. Between 2005 and 2010, the South East experienced a four per cent increase to house prices, while Yorkshire recorded a fall of four per cent.

People are paying 125 per cent more for their homes in Yorkshire than they were ten years ago, with the average property now costing 125,730, up from 55,975.

The increase is the second highest of all regions in the country over that time, behind only the North, which has seen a 130 per cent jump.

The national price rise was 91 per cent, taking the average cost of a UK home to 164,310, the analysis by Halifax reveals alongside the trends which show where buyers are looking to make the most for their money.

Average prices in Driffield have rocketed by 171 per cent since the turn of the century, the biggest rise in Yorkshire and the sixth largest increase of the 334 UK towns and cities surveyed.

For the final quarter of 2010 a property in the East Riding market town cost 157,662 on average, up from 58,160 ten years ago.

Jon Sheppard, director at estate agents Grays & Co, which has an office in Driffield, said: "We've had people coming over from York looking to down-size their mortgage but get the same size property.

"There are families taking advantage of good schools and first-time buyers taking advantage of the still relatively low prices. There's also a steady stream of OAPs moving in from villages because they can't drive any more and a lot of investors doing buy to lets because their money is not making any interest in banks."

Those looking for a house in Goole will pay 155 per cent more for a property in the town than in 2000 – the 13th highest increase in the country. A home now costs an average of 145,090.

Ian Screeton, owner of estate agents Screetons, has 30 years experience working in the town. He said: "The house prices in Goole have been depressed for a long time but there is a rejuvenation going on. Goole has good road links – it's right on the motorway junction – and good rail links."

Residents in Huddersfield have experienced the lowest rises to house prices in Yorkshire but they still saw an above average rise of 98 per cent to 128,704.

The most expensive homes in the region are found in Harrogate, with the average property selling for 224,172, some 30,000 more than the second priciest town, York. Those house-hunting in Batley can find the best bargains, with the average property in the West Yorkshire town costing only 102,494.

The research is based on data from Halifax's housing statistics database, which has been running since 1983.

Suren Thiru, Halifax housing economist, said: "The traditional home of price gains, the South, was left behind by strong growth in the North where house prices more than doubled over the period.

"However, recently, there has been a slight reversal of this trend with the housing market in the south of England outperforming the rest of the country over the past few years."

He added: "It is possible there will be some further variation as the economies in London and South East perform better than areas of the North more affected by public sector cuts."

The six regions that have seen the biggest house price gains since 2000 are all outside of the South, with the North leading the way with an increase of 130 per cent, followed by Yorkshire and the Humber at 125 per cent and Wales at 108 per cent.