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After a year of record rises, house prices are finally beginning to fall, providing a much-needed boon to Britons who have had to shelve their homeowning dreams since the cost-of-living crisis began.
The asking price for UK property currently averages £285,000 according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – an £8,000 drop from last November’s peak.
The decline isn’t being felt equally across the country, however, with the value of bricks and mortar collapsing in some areas.
As a buyer’s market is ushered in, new research has revealed the most sought-after towns and cities for movers.
Check Express.co.uk’s map below to see if your area could be the next hotspot.
READ MORE: House price crash is just getting started and market will fall for FIVE years
The study by housebuilder Avant Homes looked at search volumes for each major city in the UK for the phrase “Houses for sale in …” to gauge how many queries per 50,000 population there were on average each month.
The results show Stirling in central Scotland to be the most in-demand location for house buyers in the UK, with 3,500 monthly searches per 50,000 residents. The city, which “like a huge brooch clasps Highlands and Lowlands together” boasts an impressive medieval castle, stunning scenery and charming neighbourhoods.
The broader housing market in Scotland has a lot going for it for prospective buyers relative to the rest of the UK. In the year to May 2023, England’s most restless neighbour saw the biggest dip in house prices of all regions, losing 3.1 percent, according to Nationwide.
The building society also found Scotland to be the most affordable place for first-time buyers, with a house-price-to-annual-earnings ratio of just 3.2, compared to 5.5 for England.
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The cathedral city of York in the North East of England came in second place with 2,655 searches per 50,000.
Scotland and the North East have some of the highest buyer demand in the country, with both currently recording agreed sales numbers over ten percent above the five-year average for the month of May, according to real estate platform Zoopla.
East Anglia’s biggest city, Norwich, rounded off the top three with a monthly search rate of 2,297 per 50,000 people.
Although house prices are falling, the cost of mortgages isn’t expected to follow suit any time soon.
With bringing down inflation the Bank of England’s top priority – and the Consumer Price Index (CPI) having dropped by less than hoped to 8.7 percent in April – interest rates are forecast to be raised further.
After doing so 12 times consecutively since the end of 2021, the UK’s base rate is now at 4.5 percent, and the average five-year fixed-rate mortgage rate is 5.6 percent – relative to just 3.6 percent two years ago.
However, property expert at We Buy Any Home, Terry Fisher, told Express.co.uk that there was some good news for first-time buyers, as the property market was undergoing a “seismic shift”.
He said: “For first-time buyers, this evolving property market offers an exceptional opportunity. The combination of declining prices, increased housing supply, and landlords under pressure provides a more favourable environment to enter the market.”
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