Online House Hunter: City premiums

Alan Cleaver
winchester 300x197 Online House Hunter: City premiums

Winchester Cathedral: At the heart of the historic - and most expensive - city

REMEMBER those visions of the future made in the 1970s and 80s which predicted we would all be working from home in the future and the city would die out in favour of home-working? Well guess what – it never happened.

And judging by the latest Halifax survey, cities still command a premium for those wishing to avoid a commute into the business hubs of the UK. On average, you’ll pay about seven per cent more for a home in a city centre. If seven per cent is the average, then what’s at the top end of that range? It’s Winchester where you can expect to pay 77 per cent extra to live in this cathedral city as opposed to living elsewhere in Hampshire. There’s no doubting it’s a beautiful place to live but it’s the one-hour train journey into central London which probably makes it so popular. There are big employers in Winchester (the county council headquarters is there) but locals will tell you “those who work in Winchester can’t afford to live here and those who live here can’t afford to work here”. Most dash up on the train to the Big Smoke and once work is finished they return to the city on the edge of the South Downs with its cathedral, water meadows and motorway links to Southampton, Portsmouth or the New Forest.

There are perhaps few surprises in the list of cities with highest city premium: Winchester, Westminster, Cambridge, Lichfield, Edinburgh, Bath, Truro, St Albans, Glasgow and Salisbury. But the Halifax research does flag up some surprises in the cities showing most house price growth over the last ten years. Top of the list is the newly-created city, Inverness with a jump of 148 per cent from £68,141 in 2001 to £101,116 in 2011. Indeed most of the cities are in the north. The absence of any south-east cities is probably due to the resilience of the south-east even during the recent recession. The top ten are: Inverness, Truro, Hull, Aberdeen, Lancaster, Carlisle, Dundee, Bradford, Edinburgh and Lincoln.

As for the ”cheapest’ cities, Salford tops the list with an average price of £105,833 closely followed by Londonderry, Hull, Stoke-on-Trent and Bradford.


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