Property price hot spots and not spots

If you are looking for a property investment that grows in value, then the bad news only 24 towns have registered a price rise since property prices peaked and crashed in 2007.

The average property price per square metre (M2) has fallen by a fifth (21%) since 2007, according to figures released by The Halifax.

The hot spots leading the way to property profits are Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where prices are up 26% – followed by five the London boroughs of Islington (20%), Camden (17%), Westminster (16%), Hackney (13%) and Hammersmith and Fulham (12%).

Although these are the places with most capital appreciation, they are not the most expensive or cheapest.

Cities in London and the South East are the most expensive places to buy –

10 Most Expensive UK cities based on price per square metre

City Region

Price per M2 

10 Year change

Average Size M2

Westminster Greater London

7,586

81%

71

St Albans South East

3,227

46%

111

Oxford South East

2,821

39%

101

Winchester South East

2,813

48%

120

Chichester South East

2,638

56%

110

Cambridge East Anglia

2,634

58%

96

Brighton South East

2,549

50%

99

Bath South West

2,376

54%

121

Edinburgh Scotland

2,125

63%

93

Salisbury South West

2,060

39%

140

Source: Halifax: 12 months to July  2012

Most of the cheapest cities to buy a property are also clustered – mainly in the North East of England and Northern Ireland:

10 Cheapest cities based on price per square metre

City Region

Price per M2 

10 Year change

Average Size M2

Londonderry Northern Ireland

817

31%

131

Lisburn Northern Ireland

945

8%

115

Hull Yorkshire and Humberside

1,027

74%

99

Bradford Yorkshire and Humberside

1,042

77%

103

Swansea Wales

1,063

66%

116

Belfast Northern Ireland

1,064

11%

99

Durham North

1,104

53%

110

Stoke On Trent West Midlands

1,126

63%

101

Sunderland North

1,129

64%

105

Newport (Gwent) Wales

1,134

60%

109

Source: Halifax: 12 months to July 2012

Martin Ellis, housing economist at The Halifax, said: “House price per square metre is a useful measure for house price comparison because it helps to adjust for differences in the size and type of properties between locations.

“Several towns in Aberdeenshire have seen significantly higher growth in average price per square metre than the UK average over the past decade; this, on the main, has been driven by the booming oil industry, which is a key part of the local economy.

“Westminster has the most expensive prices in the UK on a price per square metre. Interestingly, it also has the smallest average property size in the country. Not only has Westminster got one of the highest population densities per square kilometre among UK cities, but it also has a large proportion of properties that are flats”.