£32,000 still buys you a semi

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HOUSE buyers are snapping up bargains at rock-bottom prices – including this £32,000 semi at Turner Avenue South, Illingworth, Halifax.

Homes across Calderdale are going for under £40,000 to buyers willing to take on a challenge.

Calderdale Council is making a determined effort to bring as many empty homes as possible back into use.

It sold the Illingworth house, which had lain empty for several years, at a Leeds auction.

And sellers have been dropping asking prices for months as sluggishness in the housing market continues.

Andy Instrell, a partner at Century 21 Halifax, has just sold a two-bed mid-terrace for £37,000.

The property at Clay Pits Lane, Halifax, had suffered water damage, which was the reason for the low price. He said various factors resulted in rock-bottom prices, including location and the state of properties.

“We stil find sellers want top dollar and buyers want to pay nothing,” he said.

Rocketing prices are now a distant memory as the housing decline and recession followed.

“A lot of people have to sell to make ends meet and so many factors affect the market,” said Mr Instrell.

“Low prices are out there but in most cases there is a reason why a home is under £50,000.

“It’s a great time to buy, but not a good time to sell unless you are buying as well.

“A lot of people are looking and many are holding back to see if the price drops and then they pounce.”

And, he said estate agents were having to knuckle down to get rewards from a market which had slowed.

Council cabinet member Coun Barry Collins said it’s essential empty properties are brought back into the housing stock.

“The council is keen to ensure that enough decent housing is available in Calderdale.

“Hopefully, the new owner of the Illingworth property will carry out refurbishment and rent it out as soon as possible.”

The Council has received several calls alerting it to empty properties and has been contacted by developers and landlords interested in buying and renovating them.

It has also approved the removal of council tax discounts for empty property owners as a disincentive for owners to continue to keep properties empty.

Latest Land Registry figures show an annual 3.2 per cent fall in prices with homes in the north down as much as 7.2 per cent.

The Halifax forceast a subdued and stable market during 2012.