A RISE in Darwen’s house prices could be down to property developers ‘flipping’ houses, a councillor has claimed.

New figures showed the town has seen the fifth-biggest rise in property prices in Britain over the first quarter of the year.

Nationally, the average home has piled £44 per day onto its value since the start of 2018, analysis by property website Zoopla has found.

In Darwen, the average home in the town costs £130,104 and house prices have gone up by an average of £3,552 since the start of the year – a 2.81 per cent rise.

And of the regions across the country, the North West has seen the largest increase on average over the same period.

Sudell ward councillor Roy Davies said: “The price rises might be caused by people thinking there is a quick buck to be made by doing a property up and renting it out, ‘flipping’ it.

“I think there probably could be a lot of reasons for the rise.

“A lot of properties in my ward are owned by people from outside the area who see it as an investment and buy to rent them out.

“What we need is for people to buy into the community and live here. When you think about it, if prices are starting to rise now is the time to buy.”

Cllr Davies added he was worried about the number of empty properties in the ward.

In total, Britain’s property market is now worth an estimated £8.3trillion - having increased by £114billion during the first quarter of this year.

The total rise equates to an increase in value of £3,917 for the average home between the start of January and the end of March - or around £44 per day.

The growth in property values seen in early 2018 is in contrast to the same period in 2017, when the property market shrank by £29billion.

The region with the strongest percentage growth in property values during the first quarter of 2018 was the North West of England, which saw average values rise by 1.85 per cent or £3,552.