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  • Writer's pictureThe Cedar Crest Team

URBAN FLIGHT: House prices in areas of the UK have risen by almost 50%

Updated: Oct 14, 2021

Disparity in house price growth between different types of areas

House prices in the least densely populated areas of the UK have risen almost twice as much as those in the most densely populated areas over the past year.

This reflects both the COVID-19 pandemic prompting people to choose to live and work outside of busy cities, and the Stamp Duty Holiday, according to new Resolution Foundation research[1].



The quarterly Housing Outlook examines the impact of the coronavirus crisis on housing demand across the UK, and considers what might be driving the disparity in house price growth between different types of areas.

The report highlighted that, while average house prices have risen in the UK since the start of the pandemic, it has been the least densely populated areas of the UK that have seen the biggest price increases.



Since February 2020, prices have jumped by over 10% in the least densely populated tenth of local authorities in the UK, compared to rises of ‘only’ 6% for the most populous deciles.

The outlook also finds evidence of so-called ‘urban flight’, in which workers opt to leave urban areas in favour of more rural locations, from the UK’s biggest cities such as London, Manchester and Birmingham to the hinterlands.



In London, for example, house prices in Outer London rose by an average of 7% since February 2020, compared to just 2% on average for those in denser Inner London.

Similarly, house prices have risen by 9% in small towns and villages, compared to 6% in the UK’s 12 biggest ‘core’ cities.

The analysis also suggests that smaller, more limited properties – such as flats – have become less attractive to buyers when compared to more spacious homes.

The average price of a flat has grown by just under 6% over the last year, while houses of all types have increased by around 9%.


While this is part of a longerterm trend, it seems likely that repeated lockdowns, during which many people were confined in their homes for long periods of time, have fuelled a desire for space, access to gardens and less crowding.

These attributes are typically easier and often less costly to find away from city centres.

Equally, the temporary Stamp Duty holiday, which has since ended, boosted the purchasing power of secondsteppers rather than first-time buyers, who are more likely to be interested in, and able to afford, larger properties.

Source data: [1] The Resolution Foundation independent thinktank published 1 May 2021



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