'Hot' housing market in central England defies national average

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Swathes of central England are seeing a "mini-boom" in house price growth, which is rising at more than double the national average rate, according to an index.

Northamptonshire, Derbyshire and Norfolk were identified by property website Rightmove as the "hottest markets", with asking prices in these counties surging annually by 9.1%, 7.9% and 7.4% respectively.

This is more than double the 3.1% annual increase in asking prices seen across England and Wales as a whole.

Leicestershire, Worcestershire, Nottinghamshire, the West Midlands and Bedfordshire are also seeing particularly strong asking price growth.

At £313,663 in August, the average price tag on a home across England and Wales fell by 0.9% or £2,758 month-on-month.

Rightmove said the monthly fall is in line with trends usually seen during late summer, when potential buyers and sellers are distracted by holidays.

Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said: "With newly-marketed property seeing a monthly fall of 0.9% and a muted yearly rise of just 3.1%, the heat has come off much of the market.

"A combination of traditional summertime price blues and the chill of uncertainty in the air has cooled price growth in some parts of the country, and affordability also remains very stretched.

"But despite these factors, high demand and limited supply are still driving momentum, especially in the counties in the middle of the country.

"Here, year-on-year rises at more than twice the pace of the national average are widespread, in contrast to southern and northern counties where none have approached these heady heights."

Rightmove said the best performers in the north of England in terms of annual asking price growth are Merseyside at 5.6%, the East Riding of Yorkshire at 5.4% and Cheshire at 5.3%, while the south's "less impressive trend-buckers" are Kent at 5%, Somerset at 3.8% and and Bristol at 3.6%.

House prices in the south however will tend to be rising from a higher base to start with.

In Wales, asking prices were up by 3.9% annually in August to reach £187,407 on average. In London, asking prices were up by 1.6% annually - around half the pace of the national average. The average price tag on a London home is now £629,270.

Mr Shipside continued: "With a shortage of suitable choice in many parts of the country, buyers are becoming increasingly adept at hunting down property that fits their budget, ticks the boxes on their checklist and stirs their emotions.

"Properties in the counties that have seen above-average price rises over the last year are clearly meeting the needs of home hunters at relatively affordable prices."

Here are the eight counties in central England identified by Rightmove as seeing a mini-boom in asking prices, with the annual increase each enjoyed:

:: Leicestershire, 6.9%

:: West Midlands, 6.9%

:: Worcestershire, 7%

:: Bedfordshire, 7%

:: Nottinghamshire, 7.1%

:: Norfolk, 7.4%

:: Derbyshire, 7.9%

:: Northamptonshire, 9.1%