For many people, affordability is a key consideration when it comes to buying a home.
At a time when the government is coming under increasing pressure to provide more affordable housing, new research by Which? Mortgage Advisers has some good news for those homebuyers looking for a reasonably priced property.
The organisation's analysis has revealed the places where buyers can find a property for under the national average of £200,000.
At the same time, though, these are the areas that have witnessed the largest increases in property prices in the last 12 months. Win-win for buyers, in other words.
Affordable homes, but also homes in areas where average property values are only going one way. These locations are seen as ideal for both first-time buyers looking to get on the ladder and investors looking to expand their portfolios.
The findings from the consumer watchdog, which came from an analysis of Land Registry data, found that central ‘L1’ in Liverpool is the UK’s top affordable area on the up, with a property price rise of 41.2% in the last 12 months.
The price of an average property here leapt from £85,000 in November 2014 to an average of £120,000 in November 2015.
Conwy’s ‘LL27’ in North Wales came in second place, while Bradford’s ‘BD1’ – just east of the city’s University – was the third most affordable area.
The average property price in Conwy’s ‘LL27’ increased from £135,000 between 2011 and 2014, to £185,000 in 2015.
Meanwhile, in Bradford’s ‘BD1’ they grew from £42,000 to £57,000. Nonetheless, these areas still remain under the national average despite the substantial growth in average property prices that they’ve witnessed over the last year.
And, believe it or not, there are still affordable places in the capital, with the postcode of DA18 in Bexley, south-east London, seeing an average property price of £191,500. While this falls under the national average, prices are still up by an impressive 32% in the last year.
It goes to show that affordable homes can still be sourced – particularly outside of London and the South East – and that these affordable locations are actually the ones seeing some of the fastest price rises in the country.
So, once buyers have got their hands on a property in these affordable hotspots, they are put in a good position if they ever come to sell – because the price of their home will only continue to go up and up.
None of this reduces the need for more affordable homes and for the government to undertake a proper, comprehensive housebuilding programme, but the research shows that savvy buyers and investors can still bag a bargain with the right research and the right assistance.
Up and coming areas will be less competitive than already established areas, but it’s vital that buyers get in early before the area becomes too popular and prices rise too high.
The findings from Which? also offered up the tell-tale signs that show an area might be on the up – which include things like major regeneration plans from the local authority, plans to improve and update transport links, new build properties springing up all over the place, new schools being built, trendy shops, restaurants, bars and cafés arriving and more skips and scaffolding on show (an indication of rising wealth and better-quality housing stock).
Furthermore, an area that is next to a currently thriving town or city may be next in line for the sort of investment and regeneration that characterises and up-and-coming location.
Looking out for these things, and having your finger on the pulse of the UK’s newest up and coming areas, should give buyers and investors a good chance of securing an affordable home in a thriving town or city.