THERE are fears parts of Sand-bach could soon become a black spot for first-time buyers after property prices rose faster in the town in the past 12 months than anywhere else in the North West.
The 28% increase in the Halifax House Price Index comes as Congleton Borough was named 68th best place to raise a family in a Readers' Digest survey of 408 areas of Britain. Crewe and Nantwich came 162th.
The average cost of a house in Sand-bach has jumped from £157,649 to £201,839, compared with a 2% rise in Crewe and 10% in Nantwich.
Mark Greenwood, manager of Butters John Bee Estate Agent in Market Square, Sandbach, said: 'The figure of 28% is higher than I would have expected but I think the figures are reflective of the new build restrictions on the town, the picturesque town centre, excellent schools and the commuter appeal.
'Of course, the increases are good for business but they could freeze first-time buyers out of the town as commuters look to invest in ideal property with good access to the motorway.'
Sandbach North Ward town councillor and planning committee member Roy Sutton said: 'There are areas of the town where the average house price is about £250,000 and others where it's about £150,000.
'I think it is difficult to take an average when the town has such a wide cross-section of homes at both ends of the market.
'The town has reached its limit for new-builds under the last 10-year Local House Building Plan and we are currently considering the new one.
'The limit means that at present no new houses can be built in the town and therefore it has become a selling market.
'Anyone who wants to live here is having to pay more as only existing property is available. Cheshire County Council's scheme to help people on to the property market, says of every 100 houses built, 30 have to be 'affordable'.
'Unfortunately, I can't explain the definition of affordable but what is for sure is that we cannot allow our young people to be priced out of the town.'