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News: Armagh tops city chart

Mon, 05 Nov 07

With city living a popular lifestyle choice and intense competition amongst towns to be awarded city status, new research by Halifax Estate Agents has investigated the movement of house prices in the 66 official cities in the UK...

Armagh has recorded the biggest increase in house prices of any UK city over the past five years with a rise of 188%. All four cities with the highest house price growth in the last five years are in Northern Ireland, reflecting the phenomenal rise in prices across Northern Ireland in the past few years.

Bradford experienced the highest price increase on the British mainland with a 131% rise over the past five years.  Two Scottish cities – Dundee and Aberdeen – and two Welsh cities – Swansea and St David's – also feature amongst the ten top performing cities over the period. Smaller cities have generally performed better than larger cities. Nine out of the top ten performing cities over the past five years have populations of less than 300,000. 

House prices in the UK's cities exceed those in their region by an average £11,000.  Thirteen cities have an average house price that is at least £50,000 above their region's average.  Thirty-one cities have an average house price above the average in their region. Westminster is the UK's most expensive city with an average property price of £601,821. Winchester (£379,643) is the most expensive city outside Greater London.Hull (£128,863) and Stoke-on-Trent (£134,978) are the two least expensive cities in the UK.

Places that have been conferred city status since 2000 have generally recorded higher house price rises since becoming cities. 

Table 1: Ten best performing cities over the past five years

City

Region

Average Price Sept 2002*

 £

Average Price Sept 2007*

£

5 year % change

Armagh

Northern Ireland

 69,379

 199,974

188%

Newry

Northern Ireland

 90,566

 233,075

157%

Lisburn

Northern Ireland

 96,507

 242,873

152%

Londonderry

Northern Ireland

 79,459

 184,129

132%

Bradford

Yorks & Humber

 59,276

 136,755

131%

Dundee

Scotland

 66,094

 152,050

130%

Aberdeen

Scotland

 89,229

 200,721

125%

Swansea

Wales

 72,786

 163,545

125%

St David's

Wales

 115,500

 258,272

124%

Carlisle

North

 67,342

 150,339

123%

*12 months to September.
Source:  Halifax

Martin Ellis, chief economist at Halifax Estate Agents, commented: "House prices in cities tend to be higher than the average price in their region.  The attraction of shopping and leisure facilities, as well as a short commute for workers means that there will always be demand to live in cities.

“Many cities have also benefited from urban regeneration programmes that have seen the wide scale re-development of old industrial areas and canal side warehouses into residential properties. The strong performance of smaller cities, in particular, highlights that homebuyers are looking for attractive places to live in which also offer good transport links, easy commuting and convenient shopping."

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