Property values in Luton have jumped by nearly a fifth (19.4%) over 2016 and are nearly £42,000 higher typically than a year ago, according to Halifax.
House prices in Luton have surged at more than double the 7.5% annual price growth seen across the UK generally over the year. The average house price in Luton is now £256,636, Halifax said.
The 10 areas with the highest house price rises over the last year were all in London or the South East of England, with Barking and Dagenham, Dunstable, Basildon, Tower Hamlets and Watford also on the list.
At the other end of the spectrum, Aberdeen has seen the weakest house price growth over the last year, with prices falling by 6.9% to reach £203,425, the survey of towns and cities found.
Bangor in Northern Ireland, Inverness in Scotland and Blackpool in the North West of England were also identified among the places with the weakest house price growth according to Halifax, which used its own database to make the findings.
Martin Ellis, a housing economist at Halifax, said: "Most of the areas that have seen the biggest house price rises during 2016 are either within close commuting distance of the capital or in outer London. Demand in these areas has risen as substantial property price rises in central London over the last few years have caused increasing numbers of people to seek property in more affordable areas.
"A few towns have experienced price falls, with the biggest in Aberdeen. On the north east coast of Scotland, it is highly dependent on the North Sea oil and gas sector. The substantial fall in oil prices in the past couple of years has hit the industry hard with adverse impact on demand for homes in the area. Price declines elsewhere have been modest."
Here are the top 10 house price hotspots across the UK, with the average house price in 2016 followed by the annual increase:
1. Luton, South East, £256,636, 19.4%
2. Barking and Dagenham, London, £296,946, 18.6%
3. Dunstable, South East, £253,799, 17.9%
4. Basildon, South East, £258,068, 17.2%
5. Chatham, South East, £237,545, 17.1%
6. Tower Hamlets, London, £411,495, 15.8%
7. Watford, South East, £418,080, 15.3%
8. Basingstoke, South East, £303,541, 15.1%
9. Slough, South East, £390,560, 14.7%
10. Redbridge, London, £365,438, 14.4%
And here are the areas with the weakest house price growth in 2016, with the average house price followed by the annual percentage change:
1. Aberdeen, Scotland, £203,425, minus 6.9%
2. Bangor, Northern Ireland, £154,613, minus 1.7%
3. Falkirk, Scotland, £141,182, minus 1.1%
4. Inverness, Scotland, £180,056, minus 0.9%
5. Blackpool, North West, £123,947, minus 0.5%
6. Londonderry, Northern Ireland, £116,766, minus 0.4%
7. Stockton-on-Tees, North, £152,243, minus 0.1%
8. Liverpool, North West, £156,828, 0.2%
9. Wolverhampton, West Midlands, £173,761, 0.4%
10. Grimsby, Yorkshire and the Humber, £143,141, 0.5%
10 things that add value to homes in an area
10 things that add value to homes in an area
A view out over the park isn’t just a nice bonus, it’s a valuable asset. A study by Marsh & Parsons has found that a park view can add up to 10% to a property's asking price.
It carried out its research in London, where it found that a view over Warwick Square in Pimlico added £75,000 to the asking price of a one-bedroom apartment.
Understandably, this is largely a London phenomenon, where the vast majority of train-based commuting takes place in the UK.
The Nationwide Building Society found that being 500m from a station would add 10.5% to the value of a property in London. In Manchester it fetched a 4.6% premium and in Glasgow 6%.
The researchers found that the closer the property was, the higher the premium would be - until the proximity of the station started having an impact on the area itself.
Having a Tesco, Sainsburys, Waitrose, Marks and Spencer or the Co-operative within striking difference, will add value to your property. In fact, a survey by Lloyds claimed that it would add 7% - or just over £15,000.
However, apparently what we all really want is a Waitrose, because the same study found that having a branch nearby added almost £39,000 - or 12% to the value of the property.
The way the survey was carried out, however, doesn't make it clear whether this is a reflection of the attraction of the supermarket itself, or whether the supermarkets tend to target affluent areas with expensive houses.
People will pay 12% more to live in a market town than they will for the same property in the surrounding countryside. The findings come from Lloyds Bank, which claimed the towns offered a balance between country life and community spirit that proved irresistible to buyers.
It added that in some market towns the mark-up was even larger, with Beaconsfield in the South East attracting a 156% premium over the surrounding area.
A study by the London School of Economics found that living in a conservation area adds 23% to the value of your home. Given that this was an academic study, the researchers went even further and adjusted the results based on the kinds of properties in the area, and other aspects of the location (which none of the other studies took into consideration), and it still found an uplift of 9%.
Being near a good school will add 28% to the value of your home - according to Savills - with parents calculating that it’s cheaper to move into the catchment area of a good school and pay anything up to £100,000 more for their property than fork out for years of extortionate private education.
A study a few years ago by Zoopla discovered that living on a road with ‘Hill’ or ‘Lane’ in its name meant your property was likely to be 50% more valuable than the national average.
Those with ‘Mews’, ‘Park’ and 'Green’ in their names were also more valuable.
It’s unlikely that there’s any element of cause and effect here: instead they are by-products of the same thing. Expensive houses have always been built in the more exclusive parts of town, including the hills and the quiet ‘lanes’ around those hills.
A survey by Primelocation claimed that being near a top golf course would add 56% to the value of your property. It added that prices were also rising faster near golf courses than elsewhere in the country.
Of course, there’s a chance that the results were impacted by the fact that many of the courses are in leafy and exclusive areas, where people pay a premium to live regardless of the course.
You’d have thought the threat of flooding would make people take to the hills, but it appears we’re still happy to pay a premium to be beside the sea.
The Knight Frank Waterfront Index found that overlooking an estuary adds an average of 85% to the price of a property, a harbour adds 83%, while the coastline in general adds 56% to the value of the property. If you have a mooring, that’s even better, as it adds 104% to the value of your home.
Despite all the bad press surrounding flood plains and rivers breaking their banks, being near a river is actually more valuable than being by the sea.
The Knight Frank Waterside Index claims it adds 57% to the value of your property - making it the most valuable asset to have in the neighbourhood.