After two years of fast rising house prices it’s arguable whether there is such a thing as cheap property in the UK anymore.
Just a few years ago there were many places where the average house price was under £100,000 .... today there are none. In fact, the number of areas where the average house costs under £200,000 is falling fast.
For buyers and investors in search of good value property we’ll look at where the cheapest places to buy a property are here.
Firstly to look at England. Where are the cheapest places to buy a house in England?
Hull, or to give it its correct title the City of Kingston upon Hull, has long been a cheap property hotspot. Although prices here have risen 7.3% over the last year it is still the fifth cheapest place to buy in the country. In Hull, the average house price is now £126,593 according to HM Land Registry figures.
The fourth cheapest place to buy is the borough of Pendle in Lancashire. The main towns in Pendle are Colne and Nelson. Here, although prices rose 9.7% over the last year, the average house can still be bought for as little as £123,343.
Only very slightly cheaper than Pendle and the third cheapest place to buy, even after a 13.5% rise last year, is County Durham where the average house price is now £123,123. (It’s important to point out here that this is the average house price for the county of Durham and not the city of Durham itself, where average prices tend to be much higher.)
Next in the cheap property top five is Hyndburn. The borough of Hyndburn is in Lancashire, just to the east of Blackburn, and is based around Accrington. It’s possible to buy an average property here for £122,236. Hyndburn had some of the fastest rising prices in the country last year at 20.2% however.
Now to the very cheapest place to buy property: Close to the other cheap property hotspots of Pendle and Hyndburn the current cheapest place in which to buy in England is Burnley. Here an average house costs a little more than a third of the average England house price at just £108,351. Prices in Burnley rose 13.6% last year.
Now to look specifically at London. The cheapest London borough, now and for some years, is Barking & Dagenham. While nowhere in London could really be said to be cheap Barking and Dagenham’s average house price of £331,231 is still pretty good value compared to other parts of London.
Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales historically have lower average house prices overall compared to England. But many parts of each country have seen some sharp price rises over the last year which has narrowed the gap.
In Northern Ireland the cheapest location is actually more expensive than the cheapest places elsewhere in the UK. According to the Northern Ireland House Price Index the cheapest place to buy is Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon at £140,983 on average – even after an 11.2% annual rise.
The cheapest place to buy a house in Scotland is East Ayrshire, a local authority area based around Kilmarnock. The average house price here is now £118,556, a 7.9% annual rise.
The cheapest place to buy a house in Wales is Blaenau Gwent in South Wales, with an average price of £117,731. Prices here rose a steep 18.2% rise last year.
The property market over the last year has been very far from normal of course. So what if anything can we learn about why certain areas are a cheap place to buy property?
Here a few takeaways:
Cheap property areas are generally areas which have suffered from industrial and economic decline. They have lots of low cost housing originally built to house an industrial workforce, but much of the industry is now gone.
Today cheap property areas are far from industrial. They offer plenty of space and easy access to green space that people buying in expensive areas of the country can only dream of.
Prices have always been low in these areas and, historically, they have only risen slowly. Recently however these areas have seen unusually high price rises suggesting demand for them is rising.
Cheap areas can make very good buys for those who don’t have to rely on the local economy for a job. For example, those who can work from home. So changing ways of working post-Covid could actually benefit them.
Cheap areas have low property prices but rents are not usually cheap by the same margin. So cheap areas often offer much better letting yields for buy to let investors than more expensive areas do. That could be good news for those who are willing to invest in cheap areas .... while they are still cheap of course.