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Average house prices breach £500k in one in six UK areas

Written by: Shekina Tuahene
The number of areas in the UK where the average property price exceeds £500,000 has risen by 50% in the last two pandemic years.

Average house prices breaching the half a million pound mark have increased from 874 wards in 2019 to 1,312 in 2021.

This means one in six areas now have average property values at or exceeding £500,000 – the first time it has surpassed 15%, according to property sales data from Savills.

The South West saw the largest rise in half a million pound purchases (167%), reflecting a surge in house prices across more rural parts of the country.

But the increase in suburban and semi-suburban locations breaching the £500,000 threshold is most notable in London, with almost two-thirds (64%) of all London areas seeing an average house price of £500,000 or more. This figure is up from 52% in 2019 and now accounts for 412 wards from the 334 recorded two years ago.

Further, for a quarter of the wards yet to hit this pricey milestone, they’re within £50,000 of that benchmark.

In the South East, 34% or 477 wards have homes worth more than £500,000, up from 23% in 2019. 

In the East of England, this rose from 134 wards to 194, increasing the proportion of wards from 13% to 19%. 

While regions to the North still have the fewest number of half a million pound hotspots – the number in Yorkshire and the Humber has doubled over the past two years – from five to 10.

And the first £500k wards have also emerged in the North East for the first time. However, Scotland is yet to register its first £500,000 average house price ward.

Limited choice with shrinking budgets

Despite the growth in property prices, it means buyers are getting less for their money.   

Savills’ data showed that on average, the size of a home worth £500,000 or more had decreased by 2% over five years. 

The North East will give buyers the most for their money, with a home worth half a million pounds or more being 2,017 square feet on average compared to 869 in London. 

Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, said the demand to move resulted in a house price boom across the country. 

He said: “With stock in long-favoured hotspots across the country unable to meet increased demand, surrounding wards benefited, too. As a result, we’ve seen a surge in new geographical areas breaking the half a million pound threshold over the past two years. 

“The recent increase in prices also means the range of options for those with smaller budgets is getting increasingly limited, with even half a million pounds buying you an increasingly shrinking amount of space.”  

Cook added: “This said, the four successive rate rises and the rising cost of living are likely to bring more caution over the coming months which will mean that the rate of price growth slows progressively, potentially to low single-digit figures in coming years, which will come as welcome relief to many who are looking to make their next move.” 

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