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Housing

This seaside town has seen the highest rise in house prices over the last decade

House prices have more than doubled since 2013 as the value of property has soared in recent years

hastings house prices

Buyers in Hastings face a battle to find an affordable home. Image: Ben Guerin / Unsplash

It’s no secret that the housing market in the UK is out of control. House prices have been rising faster than wages, keeping more and more people stuck in the pricey private rental market.

Some areas have had it harder than others though, especially when it comes to house prices. If you’re among the lucky (often older) group of home owners, this is great news. If you’re one of the millions of younger people struggling to find a way onto the housing ladder, skyrocketing prices are never welcome.

Now new analysis has found where house prices are going up fastest, revealing that Hastings, on the south coast, has seen the largest house price increase in the UK over the last decade.

House prices more than doubled in the East Sussex town between 2013 and 2023, according to analysis of Office for National Statistics data from online investing review platform Investing Reviews.

Residents in Hastings paid £133,521 on average for a property in 2013 but a decade later that rose 124 per cent to just under £300,000.

All of the top 10 areas with the biggest increase in house prices had seen the amount paid for property more than double.

Waltham Forest in north-east London followed with prices surging from £236,856 to £512,508 in a decade. Thanet in Kent and the Shetland Islands also saw steep rises but many of the top 10 were located in or around London.

Barking and Dagenham in east London, Thurrock, Rochford, Basildon and Castle Point in Essex all featured in the top 10 with Bristol city centre rounding out the list.

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Rising house prices are locking Brits out of owning their own home and instead many are forced to rent privately. With rents at record highs, many are struggling to make ends meet, especially with rising energy bills and wider inflation driving people into poverty.

A shortage of affordable housing coupled with the cost of living crisis is a recipe for rising homelessness and statistics released in recent months show the number of people without a stable home is already on the rise.

Meanwhile, central London and Scotland dominated the top 10 list for the places in the UK that have seen the smallest increase in house prices since 2013.

Aberdeen city centre is the only UK area to see property prices actually fall in the last 10 years, down 15 per cent on average from £161,429 to £136,742.

The wider county of Aberdeenshire was in second spot with prices up 17 per cent over the decade.

While the housing market in central London features some of the most expensive homes in the UK, prices have remained relatively stagnant compared to other parts of the country.

The average price of a property in Kensington and Chelsea – the same borough where the Grenfell disaster happened in 2017 – goes for an eye-watering six-figure sum in 2023.

The £1,278,550 average price is almost 20 per cent higher than the £1,067,550 forked out 10 years earlier 

Meanwhile, prices in the City of Westminster are up almost 23 per cent from an average of £736,489 to £905,401 and prices in Hammersmith and Fulham have risen by a quarter.

Inverclyde in Scotland and Allerdale in Cumbria follow with Gateshead, Camden and Dundee city centre rounding out the top 10 spots with the lowest price increases.

Overall, house prices have risen at a much sharper pace than wages in recent years.

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People working full-time could expect to spend more than eight times their annual earnings to buy a home in England last year, the Office for National Statistics found. For Wales, it typically costs more than six times a salary to buy a home.

Turn back the clock 25 years to 1997 and full-time workers could buy a home for less than five times the average annual salary in 89 per cent of local authority areas.

In recent months house prices have fallen as rising mortgage rates have put off buyers. This week Nationwide reported house prices were down 3.1 per cent year-on-year in March – the biggest fall the building society has recorded since 2009.

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Matthew Thompson, head of sales at London estate agents Chestertons, said demand for properties was still high in the English capital.

“Since the start of this year, many homeowners put their sale on hold to observe the market which has led to demand considerably exceeding the number of properties available for sale. This is resulting in properties keeping their value with little room for price negotiation,” said Thompson.

“Throughout March, the majority of sellers have therefore been able to secure their asking price or even receive higher offers from buyers.”But it’s not all bad news in Hastings.

Community efforts are turning empty buildings into affordable homes and places to work to revitalise the town.

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