Basildon and Slough lead house price boom as central London loses lure
Towns such as Basildon and Slough have seen house prices surge by nearly 20% over the last year - while values have fallen in parts of top-end central London - according to an official index.
Basildon in Essex was identified by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) as the local authority with the strongest house price growth over the last year, having seen a 19.9% annual jump in property values in October which took the average house price there to £301,633.
Slough saw the next highest growth, with property values there surging by 19.6%. Barking and Dagenham has seen the third strongest price growth, recording an 18.2% annual increase, while Luton and East Renfrewshire completed the top five, both recording annual price growth of 17.7%.
The ONS said overall, h ouse prices continued to see strong year-on-year growth in October, with the average property value standing at £14,000 higher than a year earlier. T he average UK house price was £217,000 in October, marking a £14,000 increase compared with October 2015.
The City of London was the local authority with the biggest fall in house prices over the last year. Property values have decreased by 8.8% annually there, to reach £712,936 on average.
Aberdeen saw the next biggest price dip, with an 8.7% fall in values taking the average house price there to £ 172,870.
Kensington and Chelsea in London - which typically has the most expensive property prices in the UK - has also seen a particularly strong price fall over the last year, with values there falling by 4.9% to reach £1.2 million on average.
Some commentators have suggested that stamp duty changes, which made the tax more expensive at the top end of the market, have hit the market in central London in particular.
The ONS report said the main driver of annual house price growth came from England, where house prices increased by 7.4% over the year to October 2016, with the average price in England now £233,000.
In Wales, the average property value in October was £147,000, while in Scotland, the average house price was £143,000 and in Northern Ireland the typical property value was £124,000.
Looking across England, London continues to be the region with the highest average house price at £474,000, followed by the South East and the East of England, which stand at £313,000 and £279,000 respectively. The lowest average price continues to be in the North East, at £125,000.
The East of England has shown the strongest house price growth over the last year, with a 12.3% increase in the year to October. Price g rowth saw the next strongest increase in the South East, at 9.1%, followed by London, where house prices have increased by 7.7% over the last year.
The report said: "Average house prices in the UK have increased by 6.9% in the year to October 2016 (down from 7.0% in the year to September 2016), continuing the strong growth seen since the end of 2013."