Southern comfort as house prices rise beside the seaside

North-South divide reflected in changes to property values, Halifax survey shows

Seven miles of beaches, 40 minutes on the train into London and the world's longest leisure pier are proving difficult to resist for Britain's recession-hit house buyers. Southend-on-Sea, once the favourite seaside spot for England's Georgian-era tourists, is now the best-performing place in the UK housing market.

New research by the Halifax, based on its own housing data, has recorded a rise of 14.8 per cent in the Essex town's property prices. Over the past year the average selling price for a house in Southend has gone from £172,782 to £198,418.

The performance is almost matched by other London commuter towns in the South-east, which have experienced the UK's highest price rises in 2012.

Basingstoke in Hampshire has seen the second-biggest rise with a gain of 14.7 per cent. And three other commuter towns – Rochester, St Albans and Dartford – continue to reflect the economic influence of London.

Durham in the North-east is the only town in Halifax's top 10 largest risers that isn't in, or on the margins of, South-east England. All of the top 10 show average price rises above 11.5 per cent.

The widening gulf between the South-east and the rest of the UK's flatlining regional economies is also exposed when it comes to the worst property-performing locations. Craigavon in the north of Co Armagh in Northern Ireland has experienced the worst slump, with prices falling by 18.4 per cent over 2012. The average Craigavon property is now £91,530, down from £112,172 last year. Although the fall in Wishaw in central Scotland was 12.5 per cent, the average house in the North Lanarkshire town can now be bought for £87,410 – the lowest level of any UK property measured by Halifax's housing data.

Four towns in Scotland and four in the North of England are ranked in the 10 worst performers. Grays in Thurrock, 20 miles east of London, is the only town in the South-east to make it into the worst performers of 2012 with a price fall of 7.3 per cent.

Martin Ellis, Halifax's housing economist, said: "Nationally, conditions in the housing market have been largely unchanged over the past 12 months with little overall movement in either house prices or sales for the second consecutive year."

But he added that this wider picture concealed considerable local differences, with a number of towns and cities recording significant changes in house prices over the past 12 months.

"Several towns within easy commuting distance of the capital feature in the list of top performers, whilst the majority of towns that have fared worst in house price terms are outside southern England, where economic conditions have generally been less favourable," he said.

According to Halifax's current forecast, broad stability in house prices nationally are expected for the coming year, when the North-South divide is also likely to continue.

The bank's optimism is not, however, shared by the Office for National Statistics, which recently indicated that house prices in the South-east could be slowing. Central London price growth is also expected to slow following the introduction of the seven per cent stamp duty rate for homes valued at more than £2m.

Winners and losers: UK house prices

Towns with biggest price rises

1. Southend On Sea, Essex, average house price £198,418 (+14.8% on last year)

2. Basingstoke, Hampshire, £220,320 (+14.7%)

3. Rochester, Kent, £184,908 (+13.3%)

4. St Albans, Hertfordshire, £371,131 (+13%)

5. Dartford, Kent, £209,557 (+13%)

Towns with biggest price falls

1. Craigavon, Northern Ireland, £91,530 (-18.4%)

2. Wishaw, Scotland, £87,410 (-12.5%)

3. Chorley, Lancashire, £125,156 (-9.4%)

4. Carlisle, Cumbria, £123,100 (-9.3%)

5. Wirral, Merseyside, £160,375 (-9.3%)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
News
i100
News
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett medically erase each other from their memories
scienceTechnique successfully used to ‘reverse’ bad memories in rodents could be used on trauma victims
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Developer (C#, ASP.NET Developer, SQL, MVC, WPF, Real-Time F

£40000 - £48000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Devel...

C# Swift Payment Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC, Authorize.N

£45000 - £60000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Swift...

Front-End Developer (JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, C#, GUI)

£55000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End Deve...

Graduate C# Developer (.NET, WPF, SQL, Agile, C++) - London

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Graduate C# De...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?