Halifax hot spots

Surprisingly, half of the fastest rising property prices over the year were in towns in the north of the country. The traditional home of property hotspots, London, does not feature in the top ten but the average house price in London topped £200,000 during the third quarter, according to the Halifax.

The top 10 are: Loughton (South East) with a 75% increase over the year; Smethwick (West Midlands) with 68%; Pontypridd (Wales) with 65%; Alfreton (East Midlands) with 62%; North Shields (North) and Wrexham (Wales) with 60%; Whitley Bay (North), Wallsend (North) and St Leonards-on-Sea (South East) with 55%; and Taunton (South West) with 54%.

Commenting upon the housing market in the UK, Martin Ellis, group economist for the Halifax, said: "These figures show that the top hot spots are not just found in those regions which have seen the largest growth as a whole. The fact that half of the towns appearing in the top 10 are in the North reflects the greater capacity for house price growth in these towns and the rapid redevelopment of cities such as Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester."

Across the UK property prices rose by 8.7% during the third quarter of 2002. The fastest growing region during the third quarter was the East Midlands, which rose by 38 per cent.