HOMEOWNERS who bought their houses last year and are now selling could be in for a big windfall if they live in Macclesfield.
House prices in the town have increased by a half over the past 12 months and Macclesfield has seen the biggest hike in prices in the country with a 51 per cent rise in value.
The average property price has also gone through the £200,000 barrier for the first time according to the Halifax House Price index for the second quarter of 2003.
Amazingly these figures do not include properties costing more than £1million, of which Macclesfield also has more than any other area outside of London and the South East.
The average price for a property in Macclesfield has increased from £135,410 last year to £204,744 this year.
Macclesfield Borough Council's economic development officer Andy Turzynski said: "We are not really surprised at these figures. The borough is close to Manchester and near to the airport and it is good for its environment and quality of life."
He also said there were high levels of disposable income in the borough - a recent survey revealed that the Macclesfield constituency had the fifth highest disposable income in the country, Tatton came first - and together with a tough Green Belt policy for the building of new properties, this had pushed up house prices.
The news of spiralling house prices may be welcomed by those with a property to sell, however it's not such good news for those trying to get on the first rung of the property ladder.
Mr Turzynski said: "The downside of this is a lack of affordable housing so people starting out cannot get on to the housing market and will have to move elsewhere. This is a problem we are addressing. One of the strengths of the borough is it is a place where people want to live and work but this success brings with it serious challenges around the issue of affordable housing."
He said the part of the development on the former Victoria Park flats site had been designated for affordable housing.
A council spokesman also said that local authority tenants had a statutory right to buy the homes that they lived in if they wished and were able.
Halifax chief economist Martin Ellis said: "There has been a considerable widening in the North/South property divide over the last ten years. This gap has narrowed a little recently as house price growth in the North has outstripped that in the South.
"Continuing housing market buoyancy in the North over the second half of the year combined with a pause for breath in the South should close the gap further. Property prices in the South will, however remain significantly higher than those in the North."
All of the UK's top property hotspots over the past year are in the North or the Midlands.