HOUSE prices in Denbighshire plunged by 20% over the last 12 months – more than almost anywhere else in the UK, latest figures show.
But elsewhere in North Wales some counties are seeing a slow-down in the decline, with more house sales being completed.
The average house in Denbighshire lost more than a fifth of its value (20.4%) in the last year, slumping to just £111,812. The latest month-on-month figures indicate the trend is continuing, with a fall of 2.3% in the county in May.
Only Bournemouth, Bristol, Luton and the London boroughs of Barking and Tower Hamlets experienced a worse fall.
Elsewhere, in the last 12 months house prices in Wrexham fell 17.9%, Flintshire 15.5%, Anglesey 14.0%, Gwynedd 13.9% and Conwy 13.1%.
In the month-on-month figures, Anglesey experienced a sharp fall, down 2.1%. However, prices rose elsewhere: Flintshire was up by 1.9%; Conwy up 1.1%; Gwynedd up 1.0% and Wrexham up 0.6%.
Peter Large, of Peter Large estate agents, said the fall in prices in Denbighshire was a necessary correction after 2007’s boom.
He forecast prices possibly falling further over the next few months followed by a rise in the last quarter of next year.
But he said people should not be too alarmed by the falls and pointed out for anyone with equity in their own properties and a desire to trade up to a bigger home, this was the perfect opportunity.
“It’s never been a better time to go out and buy a mansion,” he said.
And Mr Large said it was encouraging that sales volumes were increasing.
“Our sales in 2008 were down to single figures, there were four to five per office per month, then in January the sales doubled. Now our sales are in the mid teens at 13-15 per month,” he said.
Mr Large added the chief obstacle to a sustained recovery in the housing market was the difficulty faced by first-time buyers struggling to get affordable mortgages.
His comments were echoed by Tim Goodwin, of Williams and Goodwin estate agents based in Anglesey and Gwynedd, whose sales are also on the up.
Mr Goodwin said: “Although interest rates are at an all-time low, it’s getting that deposit together and some people are being quoted four times the base rate.”