Towns surrounded by rural areas saw the biggest increase in house prices in 2021

·4-min read
A house next to Taunton and Bridgewater canal (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
A house next to Taunton and Bridgewater canal (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

House prices in Taunton, Somerset increased by more than three times the national average rate in 2021, making it the most sought-after location in the UK.

According to research by Halifax, average house prices in the town rose by more than a fifth (21.8 per cent), while the rest of the UK saw an average increase of 6.2 per cent.

Experts believe the town’s surrounding countryside, which more people have yearned for during the pandemic, may be behind the increase in the average house prices, which rose by £56,546 to £315,759.

Last summer, Rightmove reported that enquiries from city residents about rural homes had risen by 126 per cent. It said most of these enquiries came from people living in London, Liverpool and Birmingham.

Chippenham – another town surrounded by rural landscapes – also saw a sharp increase in house prices, with the average rising by £58,322 to £381,181.

Of the 20 hotspots where house prices increased the most, London did not appear anywhere on the list.

The area of the capital with the highest growth was Enfield, where the average house price rose by 6.8 per cent to £512,135.

House prices in the central London borough of Westminster saw the biggest fall of any area, with an average decrease of 6.9 per cent.

“As the county town of Somerset, this year’s house price winner, Taunton, has a lot to offer home-buyers with its high quality of life and great transport links to major towns and cities across the South West,” Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax said.

“Like Taunton, many of the areas that saw the biggest house price growth over the last year enjoy a combination of greater affordability and space compared to nearby cities.

“Places like Bolton, Newark, Bradford and Hamilton - where there are a broad range of property types and settings - all offer significantly better value than their more metropolitan neighbours.”

Galley said this was most clearly reflected in London, where it is “rare” for no boroughs to appear in the list of places that had the highest growth.

“This shift echoes what we have seen from home-buyers over the last year – less focus on major cities and more demand in the suburbs and further afield.”

Here are the top 20 hotspots with the highest growth in the average house price over the past year, according to Halifax.

  1. Taunton, South West, £315,759, plus £56,546

  2. Newark, East Midlands, £280,934, plus £46,732

  3. Rochdale, North West, £206,098, plus £32,123

  4. Chippenham, South West, £381,181, plus £58,322

  5. Braintree, South East, £356,216, plus £54,236

  6. Widnes, North West, £222,876, plus £33,628

  7. Motherwell, Scotland, £177,118, plus £26,103

  8. Bolton, North West, £212,671, plus £30,818

  9. Hereford, West Midlands, £306,872, plus £44,336

  10. Walsall, West Midlands, £230,972, plus £31,614

  11. Bradford, Yorkshire and the Humber, £170,684, plus £23,323

  12. Swansea, Wales, £211,590, plus £28,360

  13. Kettering, East Midlands, £285,103, plus £36,783

  14. Maidstone, South East, £370,964, plus £47,756

  15. Wirral, North West, £276,042, plus £34,936

  16. Scunthorpe, Yorkshire and the Humber, £176,186, plus £21,986

  17. Doncaster, Yorkshire and the Humber, £201,824, plus £25,096

  18. Hamilton, Scotland, £159,176, plus £19,225

  19. Newton Abbot, South West, £326,623, plus £42,014

  20. Spalding, East Midlands, £264,668, plus £33,70

Here are the 20 coldspots with the lowest growth in average house prices, according to Halifax.

  1. Westminster, London, £738,088, minus £54,809

  2. Airdrie, Scotland, £150,874, minus £6,023

  3. Hammersmith and Fulham, London, £716,541, minus £24,525

  4. Coatbridge, Scotland, £145,880, minus £3,435

  5. Islington, London, £716,554, minus £11,368

  6. Kirkcaldy, Scotland, £157,663, plus £1,774

  7. Oxford, South East, £482,893, plus £5,808

  8. Croydon, London, £436,441, plus £6,502

  9. Inverness, Scotland, £198,672, plus £3,137

  10. Cambridge, East Anglia, £473,790, plus £8,600

  11. Dartford, South East, £353,714, plus £6,616

  12. Gravesend, South East, £356,196, plus £8,830

  13. Stockton-on-Tees, North East, £190,736, plus £4,739

  14. Waltham Cross, South East, £414,071, plus £10,863

  15. Glenrothes, Scotland, £151,945, plus £4,695

  16. Bexley, London, £416,390, plus £14,444

  17. Waltham Forest, London, £530,176, plus £20,733

  18. Havering, London, £428,012, plus £16,927

  19. Sutton, London, £481,265, plus £19,529

  20. Rochester, South East, £325,974, plus £13,499

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