From ancient university cities, to seaside towns and riverside enclaves – the commuter hotspots to record the biggest house price growth in the last decade are revealed today.
The league table of locations beyond London – many within an hour’s commute of the capital – is led by Cambridge, where average asking prices have soared by 75 per cent to an average of £463,093, although its grandest houses change hands for millions.
Thanks to its glorious city centre, excellent schools and growing international reputation as a tech hub, Cambridge is rapidly closing the price gap with more expensive Oxford, where asking prices have risen by 64 per cent to an average £471,087, according to research by Rightmove.
However, the most expensive location in the report is the affluent Surrey town of Walton-on-Thames, just inside the M25. Asking prices have risen by 72 per cent, to an average £663,811 – driven largely by train services into Waterloo taking just 26 minutes.
At the other end of the scale, the most affordable option is Slough, where asking prices have increased by 64 per cent, to an average of £363,381.
However, the one to watch has to be Maidenhead. Asking prices in this Berkshire town have increased by more than 65 per cent, to an average of £539,652, and its appeal to priced-out Londoners will only increase after it joins the Crossrail line in 2018/19.
The seaside towns of Whitstable, in Kent, and Leigh-on-Sea, in Essex, also feature in the best performers’ league table.
Roger Bates, manager of RV Hall estate agents in Leigh, says the town had become “ridiculously popular” with people leaving London and Rightmove revealed prices have risen by 65 per cent, to an average £394,333 in a decade.
“The type of houses are very similar to the period terraces you find in north and east London, but they are half the price,” he said. “We often get people who are selling a three-bed semi in London for £900,000 and buying something exactly the same for £350,000 to £400,000.
“The train links are very good – people tell us it only takes them another 15 minutes to get to work, and they can buy a property for half the price.”
Value and commutability are not the only factors driving buyers eastward. “We are by the sea, old Leigh is very twee and gets lots of tourists and Leigh Broadway is full of independent shops and lovely little coffee bars and restaurants,” said Bates. “It reminds people of a London village.”
While the price performance of all the locations in today’s study is impressive, none has – yet – managed to meet the peaks of London, where asking prices have soared by almost 85 per cent in 10 years.