Luton leads house price growth in the UK

When it comes to house price growth, London has long ruled the roost, but as the capital cools, the country has a new housing hotspot: Luton.

The city recorded the biggest percentage rise in house prices among major UK towns and cities over 2016, according to new research by Halifax. The average house price in the Bedfordshire town was 19.4 per cent higher than in the previous year, increasing from £214,934 to £256,636 in 2016. This is more than two and a half times the 7.5 per cent increase in the UK as a whole.

The outer London borough of Barking and Dagenham experienced the second biggest rise in average house prices with an increase of 18.6 per cent. Dunstable – Luton’s near neighbour – completes the top three with a 17.9 per cent rise in the past year.

While the capital is not the number one hotspot any more, though, all 10 top performers are in London and the South East. Basildon (17.2 per cent), Chatham (17.1 per cent), Tower Hamlets (15.8 per cent), Watford (15.3 per cent) and Basingstoke (15.1 per cent) also all recorded price rises that were at least double the national average.

A small number of towns recorded declines in house prices in 2016. By far the most significant fall was in Aberdeen (-6.9 per cent) in Scotland. There were also marginal price decreases in a number of other towns. In Scotland – Falkirk (-1.1 per cent) and Inverness (-0.9 per cent), in Northern Ireland – Bangor (-1.7 per cent) and Londonderry (-0.4 per cent) and northern England – Blackpool (-0.5 per cent) and Stockton on Tees (-0.1 per cent).

“Most of the areas that have seen the biggest house price rises during 2016 are either within close commuting distance of the capital or in outer London,” says Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax. “Demand in these areas has risen as substantial property price rises in central London over the last few years have caused increasing numbers of people to seek property in more affordable areas.”