The North put the South to shame in a league table of property hotspots this year.
Research by mortgage lender the Halifax found that of the 20 areas where property prices rose the most, four were in the North West: Rochdale, Widnes, Bolton and Wirral.
Another three were in the Yorkshire and Humber region: Bradford, Scunthorpe and Doncaster.
Just two areas in the South East made the list.
The turnaround from a year ago, when the ranking was dominated by the South East and London, is partly due to the region’s already sky-high property prices but also a shift triggered by the Covid crisis.
Alamy Stock Photo)
With so many people forced to work from home, a flood of buyers have opted to move where they can more space for their money.
Rochdale in Greater Manchester ranked third in the list of property hotspots, with average prices soaring 18.5% – nearly three times the national average – to £206,098 this year.
It was pipped, however, by Taunton in Somerset where prices have jumped by nearly 22% to £315,759 this year, according to the Halifax.
Just behind Taunton is Newark, in the East Midlands, where average prices were found to have surged by a fifth to £280,934.
Russell Galley, managing director of the Halifax, explained: “Many of the areas that saw the biggest house price growth over the last year enjoy a combination of greater affordability and space compared to nearby cities.”
In cash terms, Chippenham saw the biggest price jump, with prices in the Wiltshire town leaping from £322,859 in 2020 to £381,181, an increase of £58,322, or 18.1%.
On the flipside, prices in Greater London fell by an average of 0.6% this year.
Westminister was found to have suffered the biggest drop of any area – down 6.9% – although a typical property still cost £738,088, well over double the national average.
Mr Galley said: “It is rare that no London boroughs appear amongst the areas of highest price growth but that is the case in 2021.
“This shift echoes what we have seen from home buyers over the last year – less focus on major cities and more demand in the suburbs and further afield.”
UK’s top 20 property hotspots, in percentage terms
1. Taunton – up 21.8% to £315,759
2. Newark – up 20% to £280,934
3. Rochdale – up 18.5% to £206,098
4. Chippenham – up 18.1% to £381,181
5. Braintree – up 18% to £356,216
6. Widnes – up 17.8% to £222,876
7. Motherwell – up 17.3% to £177,118
8. Bolton – up 16.9% to £212,671
Joint 8. Hereford – up 16.9% to £306,872
10. Walsall – up 15.9% to £230,972
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11. Bradford – up 15.8% to £170,684
12. Swansea – up 15.5% to £211,590
13. Kettering – up 14.8% to £285,103
Joint 13. Maidstone – up 14.8% to £370,964
Joint 13. Newton Abbot – up 14.8% to £326,623
16. Spalding – up 14.6% to £264,668
17. Wirral – up 14.5% to £276,042
18. Scunthorpe – up 14.3% to £176,186
19. Doncaster – up 14.2% to £201,824
20. Hamilton – up 13.7% to £159,176