The UK property market has been in a constant state of flux over the past 18 months. Pandemic uncertainty dramatically impacted the housing market in 2020, and its ongoing effects to this day mean that as normality returns, many property owners are fleeing cities for a life in the suburbs.
With less focus on commute times, and more on what homeowners can get for their money, we’ve reviewed the top places to live based on property details such as average house prices, council tax rates, broadband speeds and school Ofsted reports.
So here are our alternative locations for cities including London, Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester, Hull and Newcastle, and what you would get for a £500,000 budget.
Beverley is a market and minster town fondly referred to as ‘The Jewel of East Yorkshire’. Voted one of the best places to live in the UK, this cultural hub is a picturesque commuter town with road, bus and train links to York and Hull.
Beverley is home to a lively market attracting tourists and shoppers from all over, with an annual literature festival, kite festival, and a biennial puppet festival also proving popular. Horse racing is a longstanding sport in the area, with Beverley Racecourse dating back to 1690.
House values in the town range from £70,000 to £300,000 for apartments to family homes, with the average house price for a three bedroom semi being in the region of £170,000. Due to the diversity of properties in Beverley, it is not uncommon to see properties for sale in excess of £1 million.
Last year, the average sold price was £228,691, with Main Street in YO25 being the most sought after area. On a £500k budget, you could purchase a detached 4-bed house with a modern interior, integral single garage and a spacious garden.
Bridgend is a Welsh town ideally situated 20 miles west of Cardiff and 20 miles east of Swansea. This convenient location allows the benefit of living in a small market town whilst also being within reach of the major Welsh cities. Bridgend is served by a railway station offering regular journeys across Wales, as well as direct lines to Bristol, London and Manchester.
Bridgend as a county offers a lot culturally and historically, such as Ogmore Castle and Coity Castle. Outdoorsy types will be pleased with the array of nature reserves and parks on Bridgend’s doorstep. Moreover, the housing market has something for everyone, from a £50,000 miners’ cottage in the valley to a £1 million pound barn conversion in the country.
In the last 12 months, average sales price in Bridgend was £86,177, with Dinam Street in CF32 being the most popular location for homebuyers. With a £500,000 budget, you could expect to purchase a recently refurbished detached house with 4 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms and two reception rooms.
If you want to take full advantage of London without the drawbacks of big city living, Chislehurst in Bromley is an ideal suburban retreat within a 20 minute train ride of the capital. Chislehurst is also conveniently located on the outskirts of Kent, therefore benefitting from a rural lifestyle.
Aside from all the obvious attractions that London has to offer, more local landmarks include Chislehurst Caves and the historic Camden Place. Families can also take advantage of good schools in the area, with an average Ofsted rating of 1.82.
The average sales price for homes in the area was £488,216 over the last 12 months, with the most transactions occurring in Green Lane in BR7. In Chislehurst, a £500k property would be either a terraced home or flat, with 2-3 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms and modern interiors. Homes in this price bracket would also feature off-street parking and a courtyard garden.
Lichfield is a vibrant and historic city well-suited to those who commute to Birmingham, Leicester and Nottingham. This Staffordshire commuter hub is centrally located on the UK road network, as well as offering regular train and bus links within the city and beyond. Lichfield also has a direct line to London so you can be in the capital in less than two hours!
Lichfield’s medieval cathedral and the nearby National Memorial Arboretum are ideal for culture vultures. There are plenty of green spaces such as Cannock Chase and Beacon Park for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The average house price over the last 12 months was £277,269, encompassing plenty of affordable options for families near good schools with an average Ofsted rating of 1.95. You could anticipate that a property worth £500,000 would provide ample space, spanning 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms and 3 reception rooms. The average £500k home would be detached with a very large garden, however it would benefit from modernisation.
Over the last year, Main Street in DE13 had the most transactions, proving a popular area of the Lichfield district.
Nestled in the heart of the Pennines, Littleborough has become an increasingly popular place to live. This Lancashire town is located in the upper Roch Valley, offering countryside living without compromising on convenience. With easy access to the M62 motorway as well as two train stations offering services to both Manchester and Leeds, Littleborough is the ideal rural destination for commuters.
Local amenities include an array of independent restaurants, cafes and pubs. Furthermore, the surrounding Hollingworth Lake and Watergrove Reservoir boast beautiful natural landscapes perfect for days out.
Over the last year, the average sold price for properties in the area was £175,103, with Dividend Drive in OL15 proving most popular with buyers. A budget of £500k could purchase a detached farm house with 3 bedrooms and extensive outdoor space. This sort of property would be in need of modernisation, making it a great doer-upper project for fans of characterful homes.
Sunderland is a port city in the North East, within easy reach of Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Durham. With access to the Tyne and Wear Metro as well as links to the major A19 and A1M roads, Sunderland serves as the ideal commuter city.
Still, you don’t have to travel out of Sunderland to experience everything the region has to offer. The city boasts an abundance of attractions suited to all tastes - the fantastic Stadium of Light perhaps being the most notable. This all-seater football stadium doubles up as an internationally recognised concert venue. Other attractions include the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, and the Bridges Shopping Centre.
The North East is notorious for its affordable housing - the average property price in Sunderland is £186,029. A £500,000 budget could buy a recently refurbished or new build detached home with 4-5 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. As well as two reception rooms, this sort of accommodation would include a double garage and generous garden.
The SR6 postcode offers a good range of properties, with Alston Crescent proving the most popular over the last 12 months. Whether you’re a first-time buyer, seeking an investment, or upsizing your family home, Sunderland’s property market has a variety of homes to suit every need.