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Cambridge:

Top dog for Knight Frank

 

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Edinburgh:

No.1 choice for the Location, Location, Location team

 

 

sources

The Sunday Times (Home), channel4.com, (Images courtesy of media-cdn.tripadvisor.com, and highstreet/edinburgh)

 

 

 

The 20 Best Places in Britain to Buy

 

Research by Estate Agency Knight Frank Pinpoints the Areas Expected to Beat the Market Slowdown

What's the worst that can happen to the property market? Well if interest rates were to go up and unemployment levels increase, then we could well be looking at a recession and house prices would undoubtedly go down. Whilst this scenario is purely hypothetical and alarmist in nature, a recession is technically possible and cannot be completely ruled out in the light of recent events. If this pessimistic turn of events was to reach fruition, then the level by which house prices would decrease would depend on the area. Health of local economies would come down to factors such as housing affordability, wages, levels of unemployment, population growth and skill levels.

 

In the table below are the twenty locations that Knight Frank believes will be a safe investment, no matter what the economy does. Most of them are fairly predictable, but more interestingly, there are some less expected (and cheaper) alternatives.

 

Rating
Location
Average House Price (£)
1
Cambridge
296,727
2
York
222,215
3
Oxford
353,250
4
Milton Keynes
239,834
5
Guildford
403,667
6
Reading
289,897
7
Edinburgh
229,129
8
Bristol
230, 118
9
Bath
313,558
10
Crawley
246,075
11
Worthing
223,542
12
Southampton
223,007
13
Brighton
261,810
14
Chester
216,053
15
Bournemouth
223,748
16
Portsmouth
171,131
17
Swindon
179,776
18
Telford
175,622
19
Norwich
200,752
20
Warrington
174,757
20 Best Places to Buy in Britain (Knight Frank)

 

So what is it about these locations that lead Knight Frank to believe that they are "bomb-proof"? Let's take a closer a look at some of them:

Cambridge

Top of the shop Cambridge ticks all of the boxes for wages, employment growth and workforce qualification. It is an historic city with one of the top two universities in the country, Addenbrooke's hospital and various science and technology parks springing up outside the city. Restrictive planning laws ensure a limited supply of good quality property with properties in or near the city centre in great demand. Affordability is not so good, as house prices in the city have risen by a whopping 49% between 2002-2007. However, buyers moving up from London, to take advantage of the good transport links, will not blanch at the £600,000 plus asking price for a centrally placed Victorian terraced house.

 

York 

Like Cambridge, York has an attractive and historic city centre with relatively low centrally-placed housing stocks. It is two hours from London on the train and other cities such as Leeds are relatively easily commutable. Quality education is another pull of the city as it boasts some of the best state and private schools in the country.

Bath

Another picturesque and historic city at number nine on the list, its popularity boosted by the fact that Bristol, Swindon and London are all within striking distance.

 

Oxford

Another seat of education, Oxford is popular with academics and families trying to get their children into a good school, as well as investment buyers tapping into the lucrative student let market. This doesn't come cheap though; a period family house in central north Oxford will cost between £1.25m and £4m.

 

Milton Keynes

Living proof that a place doesn't have to be historic or picturesque to be popular, the somewhat sterile Milton Keynes is a hive of industry. Being a new town, it boasts well-planned infrastructure and fantastic transport links. Another bonus is the proximity of picture-perfect villages such as Woburn and Aspley Guise, set in beautiful countryside.

 

Guildford

A prime location for London commuters, Guildford can offer a better quality of life than that of the capital.

 

Worthing/Bournemouth

Both these locations owe their place on the list to their popularity as retirement destinations.

So that was an insight into the research carried out by Knight Frank for the Times newspaper. You might well ask why there was not a single location supplied by Scotland or Wales? Well, you may be interested to know that Channel 4's Location, Location, Location's "top 20 places to live in 2007" research panned out somewhat differently:

 

 

20 Best Places to Live in 2007 (Location, Location, Location)

 

Rating

Location

Comment

1
Edinburgh
Scotland's capital is a regular high scorer with the LLL team
2
Winchester
Number one in the same survey for 2006
3
Epsom & Ewell
Surrey's highest placed borough
4
Waverley
Scenic surroundings & a high standard of living
5
Mole Valley
Low crime, good education and steady house prices
6
Surrey Heath
Picturesque green belt, described as "Tory territory".
7
South Cambs
A regular in the top ten for this survey and indeed, just about any top location survey.
8
Chelmsford
Lots of new development mixed with historic city centre character
9
Horsham
Finished second in the same survey of the previous year
10
Elmbridge
A high standard of living
11
East Dunbartonshire
Described as "Glasgow suburbia meets Scottish countryside".
12
Guildford
High average earnings and good commuter links
13
St. Albans
Poor affordability but a very sought after location
14
Rushcliffe
Rural tranquility and excellent transport links
15
Bath & North East Somerset
Culture vultures eat your heart out
16
Mid Sussex
Access to the city and the sea
17
Suffolk Coastal
Affordable, low crime and natural beauty
18
South Northamptonshire
An idyllic rural lifestyle within striking distance of Cambridge and Stratford
19
Reigate and Banstead
Commuter hotspot for the high earners
20
Wokingham
Low crime rate, high earnings and long life expectancy

 

Edinburgh: No.1 choice for the Location, Location, Location team

 

According to Channel 4, this list was compiled using official statistics on crime, education, employment, environment, lifestyle and health. So why do these lists vary so much? One may suggest that the business locations of Knight Frank may play a factor in the first list. Having said that, just how reliable is the second list, compiled on official statistics. We all know how prone to massaging figures local authorities and central government can be.

 

One thing is for certain though. If you have a decent property in a good location, over the long term you cannot possibly lose, no matter what the economy decides to do in the meantime. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919): "Every person who invests in well-selected real estate in a growing section of a prosperous community adopts the surest and safest method of becoming independent, for real estate is the basis of wealth". Wise words indeed.

Do you think that these locations are really downturn-proof? Maybe you live somewhere that you think should have made the list. Contact Us and have your say