HOUSE values plummeted in Sheffield in 2012 by £286 million – making the city the country’s worst property black spot, according to research by home-hunting website Zoopla.
Homes in Doncaster fell in value by £160 million over the same period, the second biggest year-on-year fall, confirming a bleak picture for the South Yorkshire region.
The gloomy picture contrasted with the situation nationally, which saw UK homes rise in value by £57 billion, up to levels last seen in 2009 – with three quarters of the increase tracked in London.
But Sheffield estate agents say things are nowhere near as bad as Zoopla claims – and insist demand in fashionable city suburbs is as strong as usual.
James Mee, managing director of Saxton Mee, said his company had been cushioned somewhat from any decline as it concentrated on wealthier city suburbs and the Hope Valley.
He said: “These are always popular areas and are in demand by professionals working in medicine, banking and the universities.
“Our experience is that in the lower to middle ranges, from £100,000 to £350,000 prices have been much the same over the last 12 months.
“But demand has dipped for houses priced above £500,000 – sellers may have to drop their asking price by as much as £100,000.
“We also have to be slightly apprehensive about what is to come with more public sector cuts on the way.”
Lucy Crapper, auctioneer at Blundells, said 2012 had been a tough, but positive year.
She said: “Some areas have struggled, but the overall ‘sold’ rate remains exceptionally high. At auctions we have sold millions of pounds worth.
“There has been high demand, especially for property with potential.”
Lee Carratt, at Reed Rains, said latest figures from the Land Registry House Price Index showed Sheffield house prices had actually risen by 1.3 per cent.
The value of homes across the country has now reached £5.96 trillion, according to Zoopla.
Property in numbers:
Fall in house values in Sheffield in 2012, according to property website Zoopla - £286m
Fall in Doncaster house values , the UK’s second worst performance in 2012 - £160m
Rise in value of UK homes nationally over 2012 – mostly in London - £57bn