Just one local authority in England and Wales is home to properties cost less than £100,000 on average, according to new analysis which highlights the stark polarisation in the UK housing market.
Last year, average property prices in the Welsh authority of Blaenau Gwent stood at £97,147, making it the only local authority out of a total of 348 in England and Wales yet see the average value of homes sold exceed £100,000 – a threshold crossed by every London borough more than 15 years ago.
Not only did prices in the capital exceed £100,000 by 2002, the average residential sale price across every London borough surpassed the £300,000 barrier last year. Kensington and Chelsea was first to hit this price point, around 20 years ago.
Research by property group Savills, which analysed land registry data, found that as far back as 1995 the average sale price in 35 local authorities had crossed the £100,000 line, including nine London boroughs, plus a number of high value commuter towns such as Guildford, St Albans, Winchester, Sevenoaks and Woking, plus one local authority in the south west – the Cotswolds.
The map shows that by the end of 2003, the last of the local authorities in the East and the South West had reached the £100,000 mark.
The first local authorities in the North passed this threshold in 1999, with the affluent neighbourhoods of Trafford and Cheshire crossing the benchmark first.
Savills predicted that, even if house price growth continues at the rate it has done for the past 20 years – although ut us unlikely given the current subdued state of the housing market – the average property price in all local authorities will reach £200,000 in 2036.
Lucian Cook of Savills said house prices at a regional level are a clear reflection of underlying regional economic factors, "but such polarisation reduces social mobility and perpetuates the haves and have nots of housing wealth".
Newport in Wales was recently identified by property portal Rightmove as having the fastest moving property market in Britain, with the number of available homes up for sale dropping by a third over the past year.
The upcoming removal of the tolls on the bridges across the River Severn between England and Wales at the end of the year has led to a surge in buyers flocking to the Welsh city, while priced-out Bristolians, who face average asking prices of £300,000, are also making their way west in the hope of finding affordable homes.