DESPITE the economic doom and gloom, Portsmouth home owners have reason to smile as the latest figures show local house prices are on the rise.
The city is bucking the national trend with a 1.3 per cent annual increase in the value of residential property in November 2011 compared with a 1.9 per cent slump across England and Wales.
Statistics from the Land Registry also show a 0.3 per cent hike in Portsmouth house prices between October and November 2011.
And according to the Halifax, Britain’s biggest lender, Portsmouth comes fifth in the list of UK towns with the highest increase in average house prices from 2010 to 2011.
By their calculations, drawn from buyers who have taken out mortgages with them, the average house price in the city has shot up from £139,200 to £150,901.
This news is being hailed as a big boost for the city at a time when financial good news is in short supply.
Neil Hawkins, of Chandler Hawkins chartered surveyors, Portsmouth, said: ‘This is excellent news and shows houses prices in Portsmouth are holding up.
‘People are buying and selling when they want – no-one is being forced to.
‘We are lucky because the recession hasn’t hit Portsmouth as it has other places.
‘We are not being hit by any major job losses or big employers making lots of redundancies, so the market is acting in its normal way.
‘Gunwharf Quays has also made other people a lot more aware of Portsmouth as a city, and Portsmouth people are very loyal and tend to buy their first properties in the city.’
He added: ‘I do think the growth could be even more positive if banks started lending more.
‘Portsmouth is a very attractive place for first-time buyers, the prices are very low and there are lots of terraced houses and converted flats.’
House prices are not doing so well in Hampshire where the average home was last valued at £206,180 compared with £143,322 in Portsmouth.
The average property price dropped by two percent when you compare November 2010 to the same month a year later, and again by 0.3 per cent from October to November 2011.
Mr Hawkins suggests houses in The News’ area are not a factor in the countywide slump.
He said: ‘I’m confident that the house prices in Gosport, Fareham, Havant Waterlooville, Hayling and Emsworth are mirroring Portsmouth. They are going up rather than down.’
The Land Registry did not release a breakdown of Hampshire house prices.