Property hotspots 2016:Bexley continues to top national index but Ipswich, Milton Keynes and Medway are the spots to watch

The south-east London borough of Bexley has claimed the top spot on the National Hotspots Index for the seventh time, while demand is also rising in popular commuter areas such as Ipswich, Milton Keynes and Medway.

Bexley is London’s most affordable borough, so it should come as no surprise that more than 70 per cent of properties put on the market in the past three months were sold, putting it at number one on the National Hotspots Index for the seventh time.

The average price of a home in the area, a leafy borough at the south-eastern edge of London, is more than £200,000 cheaper than the London average, according to a Land Registry report.


The National Hotspots Index, conducted by eMoov, reflects the areas in the UK experiencing the biggest demand, by recording the percentage of available properties sold in each area.

Locations within London’s commuter belt dominated the index, with Ipswich, Milton Keynes and Medway making the top 10 for the first time.

Tara Grace, manager of Jonathan Waters estate agents in Ipswich, said: “We are seeing lots of buyers coming from London because prices here are a bit more sensible and it is only an hour’s commute.”

“It costs £250,000 on average to buy a three-bedroom semi-detached house. It is still a fairly rural, quiet area with a low crime rate, which makes it attractive to people. It also benefits from the surrounding area - popular villages like Woodbridge, and neighbouring Southwold, where a beach hut will sell for £150,000.”

Bristol was the second "hottest" area for the first quarter of this year, with demand standing at 68 per cent.

But the rest of the index was made up mostly of London's satellite regions: Bedford came third with a 66 per cent turnover; Medway in Kent took fifth place (63 per cent); Watford was seventh (62 per cent) and Milton Keynes and Sutton came ninth and 10th respectively.

Cambridge, within a 45-minute commute of King’s Cross by train, came eighth, with 62 per cent of homes on the market selling so far this year.

“In the last year, we’ve seen a mass exodus from the expensive London heartland to more affordable climes,” said Russell Quirk, founder and CEO of eMoov.

Watford, in Herts, has a mix of period homes and modern developments. Image: Alamy


The National Hotspots Index also charts the “coldest” property areas – where turnover is at its lowest and slowest – with the prime central London areas of Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea ranked first and second, with just 12 per cent of the properties listed being sold.

Other areas of London to feature on the top 10 coldest index include Southwark (17 per cent turnover) and Hammersmith and Fulham (19 per cent).

The indices show that demand for properties, in comparison to the first three months of 2015, has fallen by half in Southwark and by more than 40 per cent in the London boroughs of Kingston and Hounslow.

“With Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea, what we’re now seeing is the market correcting itself,” says Quirk.


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