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Bristol is the most sought-after area in the UK among potential buyers and renters looking for homes outside the capital on Rightmove, new figures suggest.

Data from the property listing site shows the city in south-west England was searched for more than anywhere else outside the capital in 2019.

York, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Sheffield made up the rest of the top five among prospective buyers. Manchester, Liverpool, Cambridge and Glasgow were the most popular for potential renters, according to the data published on Tuesday.

The most searched-for areas of London were leafy Wimbledon in the south-west of the capital for would-be buyers, and the business district of Canary Wharf to the east for renters.

Separate analysis by Zoopla earlier this month showed the most affordable cities, such as Glasgow, Liverpool, and Belfast, had seen growth twice as fast as the UK average over the past decade.

The past three years have seen a slowdown in the housing market, particularly in the capital and the south-east as Brexit uncertainty, stamp duty changes, and a weaker economy have curbed growth.

Why is Bristol getting more popular and pricey?

The average property in Bristol now sells for £316,410, according to Rightmove.

Asking prices have grown by 2.3% over the past year, far higher than nationwide growth of 0.8%. Properties sell more quickly than anywhere else in the south-west, typically spending 50 days on the market before being sold.

“There’s high demand for suitable housing in Bristol and the surrounding area, as it’s a vibrant regional centre with a strong local economy,” said Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove.

The city’s economy has grown faster than average in recent years, with employment levels generally higher than in other large cities.

It has seen some of the highest rates of business startups, with creative industries booming and strong banking, insurance, and professional services sectors.

But the local council says economic growth has put a strain on housing in a city of almost half a million people, as well as increasing congestion and pollution.

“Though this is good news for those already on the property ladder, it makes it harder for first-time buyers to get onto it,” said Shipside, who predicts price trends will continue.

“Historically, there has not been enough new house building to cope with the shortage of homes, resulting in prices rising at a faster pace than many other cities in the UK,” he added.

Bristol’s population has increased by 11.7% since 2008, faster than the national average.

Its population is expected to rise by a further 21% by 2041 from 2016 levels, also far higher than the national average.

The average home cost more than nine times average local earnings in 2018, according to Bristol council, the highest of any of England’s so-called ‘core cities.’

Average property prices increased by £118,000 in the decade to 2019, analysis by the council suggests. That marked a 74% increase, versus an average of 47% in England and Wales.

The most popular cities to buy outside London

  1. Bristol
  2. York
  3. Glasgow
  4. Edinburgh
  5. Sheffield
  6. Cambridge
  7. Manchester
  8. Norwich
  9. Birmingham
  10. Nottingham

The most popular cities to rent outside London

  1. Bristol
  2. Manchester
  3. Liverpool
  4. Cambridge
  5. Glasgow
  6. Leeds
  7. Nottingham
  8. Birmingham
  9. Edinburgh
  10. Sheffield

By Tom Belger

Source: Yahoo Finance UK

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