Despite the current cost of living crisis – which has seen inflation rise to 9.1% and the Bank of England base rate adjusted several times since October 2021 to its current 1.25% – the imbalance between supply and demand means that we are still seeing a buoyant housing market. Indeed, there was a 12.4% year on year rise from April 2021 to April 2022 and the average UK house price sits at £281,000.

To put that into perspective, it would take over 4 times the average combined salaries of a double-income UK household to purchase a £281,000 property in the current market.

In England, the average house price is currently £299,000, making it the priciest part of the UK by a significant margin.

Average house prices across the UK

RegionAverage house price as of April 2022
Northern Ireland£164,590
Scotland£186,738
Wales£212,000 
England£299,000 

Source: Office for National Statistics and the NISRA House Price Index for Q1 2022: https://www.nisra.gov.uk/statistics/housing-community-and-regeneration/northern-ireland-house-price-index

But are house prices still competitive anywhere in England? And where are the cheapest areas to live if so?

According to Yopa, the English town with the cheapest house prices in 2022 – and for the third year running – was Shildon in County Durham. As of July 2022, the average house price in Shildon remains a very reasonable £80,733, a whopping 73% less than the national average, making it a tempting proposition for homebuyers in the North East.

In fact the North East as a whole is the cheapest English region when it comes to property prices. With an average house price of £178,650 in July 2022, the region is beaten only by Northern Ireland when it comes to the UK affordability stakes.

Interestingly, all regions in England apart from the North East have seen an increase in their average house prices since February 2022 too. This includes London, which saw the slowest growth in house prices of all regions during the pandemic years of 2020-2021.

RegionAverage house price as of July 2022*
North East£178,650
Yorkshire & the Humber£241,284
North West£248,576
East Midlands£286,049
West Midlands£284,783
South West£393,801
East of England£426,792  
South East£492,362
London£681,992

Source: https://www.rightmove.co.uk/news/articles/property-news/what-can-you-buy-for-the-average-house-price-in-your-region/

Top 10 cheapest places to buy property in England

So if you are looking for an affordable option for your next house purchase, where exactly are the best places to look in the North East and beyond?

Well, joining Shildon as the top 10 cheapest places to buy property in England as of July 2022 are the following towns.   

 TownRegionAverage house price as of July 2022
1ShildonCounty Durham, North East£80,773
2FerryhillCounty Durham, North East£93,324
3CleatorCumbria, North West£95,758
4Moor RowCumbria, North West£96,411
5NelsonLancashire, North West£96,632
6FagleyWest Yorkshire, Yorkshire & the Humber£101,433
7StanleyCounty Durham, North East£104,127
8LoftusCounty Durham, North East£105,254
9PeterleeCounty Durham, North East£106,637
10EdlingtonSouth Yorkshire, Yorkshire & the Humber£110,746

Source: https://www.rightmove.co.uk/house-prices-in-England.html

Interesting, 5 out of the top 10 towns with the cheapest average property prices in England can be found in the North East, with the North West taking the 3rd, 4th and 5th spots and towns in Yorkshire & the Humber taking the 6th and 10th spots on the list. This suggests that the old North/South divide is still intact when it comes to property prices and counties to the North of England remain the most affordable despite some of the largest growth in property prices in these areas from 2020 – 2022.

Whilst outliers Shildon and Edlington, 89 miles away in South Yorkshire, differ in average house price by a not insignificant £30,000, the remaining properties on the list differ in price by a lot less, with a range of just over £13,000 between them.

What should we expect for house prices going forward?

With the constraints on affordability thanks to the on-going cost of living crisis and the levelling off between the supply of new homes coming onto the market versus demand – alongside the usual variation in house prices we would expect in the traditionally quieter summer months (pandemic notwithstanding!) – it is likely that we will see house price growth slow across the board in the UK in the next few months. Indeed, many experts in the property industry are anticipating an annual growth rate of between 3-5% by the end of 2022.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash