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.
Taunton, South West, £315,759, plus £56,546
Newark, East Midlands, £280,934, plus £46,732
Rochdale, North West, £206,098, plus £32,123
Chippenham, South West, £381,181, plus £58,322
Braintree, South East, £356,216, plus £54,236
Widnes, North West, £222,876, plus £33,628
Motherwell, Scotland, £177,118, plus £26,103
Bolton, North West, £212,671, plus £30,818
Hereford, West Midlands, £306,872, plus £44,336
Walsall, West Midlands, £230,972, plus £31,614
Bradford, Yorkshire and the Humber, £170,684, plus £23,323
Swansea, Wales, £211,590, plus £28,360
Kettering, East Midlands, £285,103, plus £36,783
Maidstone, South East, £370,964, plus £47,756
Wirral, North West, £276,042, plus £34,936
Scunthorpe, Yorkshire and the Humber, £176,186, plus £21,986
Doncaster, Yorkshire and the Humber, £201,824, plus £25,096
Hamilton, Scotland, £159,176, plus £19,225
Newton Abbot, South West, £326,623, plus £42,014
Spalding, East Midlands, £264,668, plus £33,70
Here are the 20 coldspots with the lowest growth in average house prices, according to Halifax.
Westminster, London, £738,088, minus £54,809
Airdrie, Scotland, £150,874, minus £6,023
Hammersmith and Fulham, London, £716,541, minus £24,525
Coatbridge, Scotland, £145,880, minus £3,435
Islington, London, £716,554, minus £11,368
Kirkcaldy, Scotland, £157,663, plus £1,774
Oxford, South East, £482,893, plus £5,808
Croydon, London, £436,441, plus £6,502
Inverness, Scotland, £198,672, plus £3,137
Cambridge, East Anglia, £473,790, plus £8,600
Dartford, South East, £353,714, plus £6,616
Gravesend, South East, £356,196, plus £8,830
Stockton-on-Tees, North East, £190,736, plus £4,739
Waltham Cross, South East, £414,071, plus £10,863
Glenrothes, Scotland, £151,945, plus £4,695
Bexley, London, £416,390, plus £14,444
Waltham Forest, London, £530,176, plus £20,733
Havering, London, £428,012, plus £16,927
Sutton, London, £481,265, plus £19,529
Rochester, South East, £325,974, plus £13,499