Property hotspots in the UK

Buying and selling property in the UK has become a tricky business since the recession hit - the market took a huge plunge as the credit crunch bit and even recent price increases have been disappointingly small.

uk property hotspots

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So where are the UK's property hotspots and how can you find the best area in which to buy? We take a look at the hot, the not so hot and the 'heatmaps' that can help.

Where's hot?
As you might expect, London and the surrounding 'commuter belt' remains popular and is therefore the strongest section of the property market. In London itself, prices have gone up by 2.1 per cent over the last year and some areas have seen a rise of 10 per cent.

Inevitably buyers are clamouring to get their hands on London property but you'll need a sizeable mortgage to take advantage because the average home in the capital now costs £350,000.

Property in Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Kent and Surrey are also hot at present, largely because of their fast links to London, but again they're not cheap.

If you are looking for somewhere more up-and-coming, it's worth checking out the likes of Chelmsford in Essex and the Medway towns in Kent - both offer excellent transport links to the capital and the former are expected to see plenty of new developments in the near future, while property in Chelmsford is cheaper than those in Surrey but may prove a good investment in the long term.

Where's not?
Sadly the North-South divide is still very much in evidence, at least in terms of the property market.

Currently suffering more than most is the North East where prices have dropped by 7.8 per cent over the last year, leaving many in negative equity. The average house price now stands at £101,759.

However, prices are also falling in the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, where property has fallen by four per cent or more in the last 12 months.

Heatmap help
With the market in such disarray, a number of helpful websites have devised property 'heatmaps', enabling buyers and sellers to get an idea of prices and the hot and cold areas across the UK., for example, provides an overview of UK hotspots and the site allows you to change that view depending on whether it is average values, new builds or yearly growth you're interested in.

But the latest house-hunting help comes in the form of Zoopla's recently launched heatmap. As with Mousprice, you can easily see the lay of the land, with each area colour-coded according to average house prices. Zoom in, however, and more surprising differences in property values are revealed so it's definitely worth a look if you already have an area in mind.

If you are looking to sell your home, online information is available from the likes of Right Move and, where you can check the prices of properties sold in your area.