HOMEOWNERS in Southend have made an average of £76,000 on their properties in just five years, it has been revealed.

In 2013, the average house price in the borough was worth £167,000 more than the remaining mortgage on the property, but that rose to £243,000 by the end of last year.

The increase saw Southend weigh in as the fifth highest town for equity increase across the country, compared to a national average of £49,000.

Homeowner, Caitlin Willis, 28, of Woodgrange Drive, said it was brilliant news after years of deposit saving.

She said: “It is great to know we are actually making money on our home.

“Ask any young homeowner and they will tell you how much of a struggle it was to buy, save up enough for a deposit and get on the ladder.

“Me and my boyfriend saved for the best part of five years, and we really had to save, we did everything we could to save and had literally no life so we could pay for a deposit.

“It is really pleasing that the home equity is going up, and quite significantly so.

“I guess, in a few years when we consider having children and need a larger home with a few extra bedrooms, we will have that extra cash and extra value in our home to help us find a new property.”

The figures were released as part of a study by think tank Centre for Cities looking at the housing divide in the north and south.

Centre for Cities’ chief executive Andrew Carter doesn’t like the way things are shaping up. He said: “Restrictive planning policies in many prosperous southern cities and towns are gifting wealth to homeowners.

“This creates two wealth divides: one between homeowners in the south east and elsewhere in the country, and another between homeowners, who tend to be older, and renters, who tend to be younger, within the south east.

“The best way to address this inequality is to build more homes in the areas that have seen the biggest increases in housing wealth.

“This means radical reform of our broken planning system and challenging the Nimbys whose voices dominate local politics.”