A PROPERTY once known as the cheapest in a North-East town has been snapped up by a local authority.

The one-bedroomed flat at Derby Street, Hartlepool, went on the market for just £2,500 but sold for £13,000 after five buyers bid against each other at an auction last night (Wednesday February 20).

The ‘distressed’ property will be given a £20,000 make over by Hartlepool Council before being rented out as part of a £5m regeneration scheme targeting empty homes in the town.

The council’s housing services manager, Nigel Johnson said: “This is part of our scheme to bring homes that have been empty for six months or more back into use at affordable rent for local people.

“We acquire the property then refurbish it to a really high standard, then let it at 80 per cent of the market rent for that area.”

With average house prices in the town standing at £74,702, the property’s starting price meant it was worth just one twentieth of a typical Hartlepool home.

The property – which featured one bedroom, a living room, kitchen and bathroom – attracted 17,500 hits on a property website and also attracted potential buyers from as far away as the United Arab Emirates.