Liverpool crowned UK's property hotspot as house prices rise 15%

Terraced houses and rooftops in Everton, Liverpool, Merseyside. (Peter Byrne/PA Archive/PA Images)
Property prices in Liverpool shot up nearly £20,000 – from £130,224 to £149,938 – in the year to October, according to analysis of Land Registry data by property portal Movewise. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Archive/PA Images

Average house prices in Liverpool have risen by 15.1% since last year, making it the UK’s top property hotspot in 2020.

Property prices in Liverpool shot up nearly £20,000 – from £130,224 to £149,938 – in the year to October, according to analysis of Land Registry data by property portal Movewise.

Only two other major UK towns have seen double-digit house price growth this year – Slough (11.8%) and Worcester (10.0%).

The impact of lockdown and the desire for outside space, plus a growing trend towards working from home, has seen an exodus from London.

This is reflected in strong house price growth in major towns more than an hour away from the capital, which offer a better quality of life as well as easy access to London when needed.

Cheltenham, Winchester and Bath fall into this category, and have all benefited from buyers re-evaluating what they want from a home. Average house prices in these areas have all increased more than 8% in 2020.

“The impact of lockdown has seen a noticeable shift in where [people] want to live and what [they] want from [their] homes, and that has fuelled house price growth in towns beyond the commuter belt,” Movewise founder and CEO Tom Scarborough said.

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“Even after lockdown ended, many have re-evaluated what [they] want from home-life. The need to be within a commutable distance to major cities such as London is longer so important.

“We expect this migration to continue through 2021, with more people making the decision to live further out from major urban areas – particularly as the working-from-home trend gathers momentum.”

In the UK’s biggest cities, house price growth has been more subdued, rising just 2.5% in London and Birmingham, and 3% in Manchester.

This is just below average house price growth for the whole of the UK, with prices increasing from £251,711 to £262,175 – or 4.2% – over the same period, the research found.

Surprisingly, only four major towns – Hartlepool, Aberdeen, Luton and Basingstoke – have seen prices drop in 2020.

Hartlepool comes in at the bottom, as property prices fell 6.5% during the year to October.

In Scotland, the biggest loser is Aberdeen where house prices are down almost £7,000 – or 4.7%.

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In comparison, prices are up 7.9% in Glasgow and 6.9% in Dundee, the data shows.

In Wales, the biggest winner is Newport, where average house prices are up almost £15,000 – or 8.1%. Meanwhile, while property prices continue to rise in Swansea, they are up just 1.8%.

Scarborough said: “Considering the economic and social challenges [the UK has] faced this year, the property market has once again proved itself to be extremely resilient in the face of adversity.”

The stamp duty holiday introduced in July has helped fuel house price growth, “turbo-charging the property market in the second half of the year”, he added.

“We have seen a buyer frenzy, as people look to take advantage of stamp duty savings up to £15,000. That, coupled with continued low stock in many areas, has put upward pressure on prices.”

Up to three quarters of homebuyers could back out of purchases if the stamp duty holiday isn't extended beyond March 2021, recent research suggests.

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