House prices up 75 per cent

The largest increases occurred, unsurprisingly, in the South of England in Thames Ditton, Surrey (206 per cent) and in Teddington, Greater London (194 per cent). The weakest performances in this same period were both in Scotland, in Irvine (-5 per cent) and Ardrossan (-6 per cent).

Other findings included the wide regional variation in the performance of house prices. Prices rose most rapidly in Northern Ireland (139 per cent) over the last decade, but most slowly in Scotland with a 33 per cent increase.

The north/south divide has become much more prominent since 1991, with the top 20 towns dominated by those in Greater London and the South East, which account for 13 of the 20. Five more are in Northern Ireland, and the remaining two towns are Marlborough and Shepton Mallet in the South West.

Conversely, towns in northern England and Scotland dominate the bottom 20, although the remaining weakest performer is Ammanford in South Wales.

Martin Ellis, group economist at the Halifax, said: "Although there has been a huge variation in house price growth across the country, there is little doubt that homeowners have done very well over the past 10 years.

The scale of the increase in house prices in many of the country's towns over the last 10 years demonstrates that residential property is a very good long-term investment. In the overwhelming majority of towns in the UK, house prices have risen by more than the 30% increase in retail prices over the period."