Bang For Your Buck
Where in the UK do homebuyers get the most for their money?
Having spent so much time stuck indoors over the last couple of years has led many homebuyers to cast their nets slightly wider in their property searches in the hope of having a bit more space.
To find out the areas where you get the most ‘bang for your buck’ when it comes to buying a new home, we’ve analysed the figures on average property prices compared to the average size of a home in each area around the country.
So where are the places where your money will stretch the furthest, and where might you have to compromise a little when it comes to size?
How big is the average house?
To give a bit of context as to how the house sizes below compare to the rest of the country, the average property size across each local authority in England and Wales stands at 92.4 square metres.
With an average property price across the nation of £271,368, this means that the average home has a cost of £2,936 per square metre.
But just how much does this vary around the country? The answer is quite a lot!
The cheapest areas per square metre
First looking at the places where you can buy the biggest homes for the lowest prices, we can see that the North of England dominates the picture, with three-quarters of the top 20 authorities being located in the North, with none from the South.
1. Blaenau Gwent, Wales
Average house price: £121,739
Median floor space: 96 square metres
Average cost per square metre: £1,268
The area where buyers get the greatest value for money in terms of floor space is Blaenau Gwent, in Wales, where a square metre of property costs just £1,268 on average. The largely rural county borough covers a number of small towns such as Abertillery, Brynmawr, Ebbw Vale and Tredegar and is also partially covered by the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape World Heritage Site.
2. Burnley, North West
Average house price: £112,394
Median floor space: 88 square metres
Average cost per square metre: £1,277
The English area with the lowest cost per square metre is Burnley, in Lancashire, which is actually the cheapest place in the country when it comes to average house prices in general, at £112,394. Combined with an average property size of 88 square metres, this equals a cost per square foot of just £1,277, which is over 20 times lower than some parts of central London.
3. Hyndburn, North West
Average house price: £122,510
Median floor space: 95 square metres
Average cost per square metre: £1,290
One of Burnley’s neighbouring areas takes third place (with another, Pendle, in fourth), with Hyndburn having slightly more expensive houses, but ones that are crucially bigger, with an average cost per square metre of £1,290. Hyndburn (named after the river that runs through it) is home to the town of Accrington and is located between Burnley and Blackburn.
The most expensive areas per square metre
At the other end of the scale, the areas where your money will stretch the least are largely found in the South of England, specifically in London, with each of the twelve least affordable areas found in the capital, and 18 of the top 20. The most expensive area per square metre not to be found in the South was Stratford-on-Avon, way down in 88th place.
1. Kensington and Chelsea, London
Average house price: £1,425,437
Median floor space: 50 square metres
Average cost per square metre: £28,509
As by far the most expensive place in the country, it’s no surprise that the area where your money will get you the least floor space is Kensington & Chelsea, in London. Located in Central London, it is the capital’s smallest borough but is full of affluent neighbourhoods such as Notting Hill, Kensington, South Kensington, Chelsea and Knightsbridge, with an average home value of £1.4 million (with many which run much higher too).
2. Westminster, London
Average house price: £1,004,433
Median floor space: 48 square metres
Average cost per square metre: £20,926
Another Central London area takes second place, with Westminster having an average cost per square metre of over £20,000. Like Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster is another very affluent area and is where you’ll find most of the capital’s major landmarks and attractions, such as the Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral as well as the West End and Oxford Street.
3. City of London, London
Average house price: £806,489
Median floor space: 47 square metres
Average cost per square metre: £17,159
The City of London district has the smallest homes in the country, at an average floor space of just 47 square metres and also has the third-highest cost per square metre at £17,159. Also known as the Square Mile, the area is London’s primary business and financial district and home to historic sites such as St Paul’s Cathedral, the Royal Exchange, Mansion House, the Old Bailey, and Smithfield Market.
The most expensive areas per square metre outside of London
With so many of the most expensive areas per square metre being located in the capital, here are the highest-ranking areas outside of London (although not too far outside!).
1. Elmbridge, South East
Average house price: £711,017
Median floor space: 100 square metres
Average cost per square metre: £7,110
By far the most expensive non-London area is Elmbridge, in Surrey, with an average cost of £7,110 per square metre, which is over £1,000 more expensive than the next highest area. But while Elmbridge is technically located outside of London, it can be found right on the outskirts of the city, and was formerly served by London’s Metropolitan Police. Major towns in the area include Walton-on-Thames, Cobham, and Weybridge.
2. Mole Valley, South East
Average house price: £581,137
Median floor space: 99 square metres
Average cost per square metre: £5,870
Another Surrey district comes in second place, with houses in Mole Valley costing an average of £5,870 per square metre. The major towns here are Dorking and Leatherhead, but is slightly more rural than Elmbridge, with much of the area being covered by the Surrey Hills, although it’s a popular place for London commuters, with various rail and road links.
3. Three Rivers, East of England
Average house price: £560,759
Median floor space: 97 square metres
Average cost per square metre: £5,781
The district of Three Rivers, in Hertfordshire, came third, with an average house price per square metre of £5,781. As with the other two areas in the top three, Three Rivers is located just outside of London, with its major town being Rickmansworth.
Figures on the median floor space for each local authority from the Valuation Office Agency’s data on median floor space by property grouping for local authorities, sourced from the Office for National Statistics’ admin-based statistics for property floor space, feasibility research: England and Wales.
Average house price data sourced from the HM Land Registry’s UK House Price Index and refer to the average price as of October 2021.
Unfortunately, data was only available for England and Wales, so local authorities in Scotland and Northern Ireland were excluded, as were a small number of local authorities that have merged or split with others, meaning comparable data wasn’t available.