Top 20 homes hotspots:Hove named most popular area for 'young professional' buyers in England and Wales for third year in a row

Exiting Londoners are heading to the East Sussex coastline in search of more space and a slower pace of life, and the ones who are staying are buying south of the river, according to a new report.

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The popular seaside town of Hove has emerged as the top choice for young professionals to buy a home, according to a new report on the 20 most popular postal districts.

The East Sussex town on the south coast of England has an idyllic seaside location, good sized-homes and a family-friendly vibe.

While the average house price in the BN3 postcode is £380,000, three-bedroom houses priced between £700,000 and £1 million are the most sought-after homes, says associate director at Hamptons International's Brighton & Hove branch, Paul Taggart.

He says: "Generally speaking, these requests are coming from Londoners looking for a lifestyle change. People are looking for a less populated area than Brighton, with a more laid-back vibe. Properties in Hove have a slower turnover because people put down roots."

Hove also gets off lightly compared to neighbouring Brighton in terms of the number of tourists descending on the area every summer, plus there's a good gastro-pub scene and great state and private schools. Hove also offers direct train links to Victoria in just over an hour.

Nevertheless, Brighton's BN1 district, which stretches from the sea into the South Downs national park, is the seventh most popular postcode with workers aged 25 to 44, thanks to its buzzing nightlife, forward-thinking cultural scene and direct train links to London in under an hour.

Homes there are just £4,000 more expensive than in Hove, reveals the report by Lloyds Bank, which based its house price figures on Land Registry transactions in the 12 months to February this year.

South-west London is particularly popular with professionals aged 25-44, with nine areas in this part of the capital making the list.

With average prices of £763,000, Wandsworth's SW18 is the most popular postcode within Greater London, and the second most popular area in England and Wales.

SW16 in fast-rising Streatham is the cheapest of the SW postcodes, with average house prices of £468,000, while SW6 in Fulham is the most expensive, with prices just topping £1 million.

Hampstead's NW3 postcode is the most expensive district in the capital to make the list.

Kilburn, Paddington, Hammersmith and Fulham and Chiswick, all in west London, also appear in the top 20.

Tower Hamlets is the sole representative of the East, with the E14 postcode ranking as the sixth most popular area, in part due to its £526,000 house price average, which is significantly cheaper than the majority of London's most popular postcodes.

Reading, west of London in Berkshire, and Didsbury in Manchester are the only two other locations outside London to make the top 20.

In 18th position, Reading offers direct 30-minute train journeys to the capital and the average property price is £265,000. 

With Crossrail due to connect the city to central and east London from next year, it's also increasingly popular with Londoners looking for more space and better value.

Didsbury just sneaks on to the list, taking the 20th spot. Averaging £260,000, homes in the area are the cheapest on the list, with young urbanites drawn to its independent shops and trendy bars and restaurants.

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