House prices in small towns in Britain have increased at a rate almost three times greater during the pandemic than in the previous decade, as restrictions from Covid-19 prompted buyers to show a greater propensity for less crowded areas.
In the 12 months leading up to April, prices in small towns rose at an annual rate of 9.6%, nearly three times the average annual growth of 3.4% recorded over the decade up in 2019, an analysis by the Office for National Statistics across England. and Wales revealed. London experienced the weakest growth, data shows.
Small towns, defined as having a population of less than 5,000, experienced the fastest rate of price growth in all types of urban centers.
House price growth in cities, those with populations of up to 225,000, accelerated to an annual growth of 9% over the same period, up from 3.4% in the previous decade. .
Faster growth in house prices was also recorded in cities, but not in London. In the capital, house prices rose 5.1%, a slowdown from 6.3% in the previous decade and the weakest price growth during this period.
The numbers are the most comprehensive indication of a shift in buyer preferences to smaller, less populated areas due to the pandemic and Covid-19 restrictions.
Still, the house price gap is unlikely to narrow any time soon, the data shows. Northwood, a town on the border of London and Hertfordshire, recorded a median price of Â£ 1.05million last year, while at Ferryhill in County Durham in the northeast, the median price was 39,000 pounds sterling.