WHO’D have thought when I was growing up in the area in the 1960s and 1970s that a modest house you could snap up for a song would now be worth a few hundred thousand pounds?

That’s the beauty of the property market, even after five years of recession prices are still incredibly buoyant if you’re in the right place at the right time.

When I was a lad, growing up in Stockton Heath, it was a perfectly nice place but not really on the property radar.

But it seems that in recent years it’s become the Warrington equivalent of Alderley Edge or Hale, and the town’s wine bar capital.

When the rest of us were still living at home, one of my school pals moved out and bought a two-bed terrace there for £25,000.

That was back in 1985 and his home is now worth more than £200,000. So did he buy well or just get incredibly lucky? The simple answer is yes, to both.

Warrington’s a great town and the confluence of railways, canals and motorways plus its closeness to Manchester and Liverpool meant it has always had a strong jobs and housing market.

However like a lot of towns in the north west it has been affected by the crunch and the slow down in lending, especially to first-time buyers.

Stafford Cleaver, a senior valuer at Meller Braggins estate agents with more than 25 years’ experience in the Warrington market, told me: “The market got into trouble because people were buying for the wrong reasons.

“They were thinking about how much money they would make rather than how long they would live in their home.

“An old friend of mine used to say that homes were for nesting, not investing and there’s still some truth in that. We need to go back to basics to get the market really moving out of gridlock again.”

The rental market in Warrington is very strong, mirroring the national trend.

A recent Halifax survey revealed 40 per cent of 20 to 45-year-olds want to buy, but are resigned to renting because they believe that first mortgage will always be beyond their financial abilities.

However I believe investing in property remains a crucial decision, and one you shouldn’t shy away from even in tough times.

If you are already an owner and are caught in negative equity remember this: there is no magic answer, but eventually it will come right. Everyone caught in the last slump in the 1980s who sat tight eventually made their money back.

If that isn’t an option, how about renting your property out?

Recently we were filming a property down the road from my old school, Appleton Grammar (now Bridgewater High). My inspirational and wonderful physics and form teacher John Muscutt is still there. Some things never change.

But others do. The property we were featuring used to be a spooky Adams Family-style house I walked past every single day on my way home from school.

Now with a bit of work it will be one of the nicest family homes in the area and a great investment for its owners.

That’s the beauty of the property market and the great thing about my old home town of Warrington. The future for both is bright!