After years of steep property price increases, some locations are now unaffordable.
But fear not, there’s a glut of new locations near old favorites that come into their own.
Here are five of the best.
Coming soon: Demand for properties on the coast of Exmouth, Devon, with its two-mile sandy beach (pictured), is increasing
Worthing instead of Brighton
The average house price in Worthing is around £385,000, which is £75,000 less than Brighton’s £460,000. It’s good for hybrid workers in the office a few days a week – it’s 90 minutes from London by train or 20 minutes from Brighton.
Karen Standing, manager of Hamptons estate agency, moved from Brighton to Worthing with no regrets. “Worthing is no longer the retirement town it used to be, but a bustling and vibrant seaside location,” she says.
“There has been huge growth in independent restaurants, al fresco dining along the seafront and seaside cafes.
A rarely-for-sale five-storey Georgian townhouse on Worthing seafront will set you back up to £1.5million, but inland you can get a six-bedroom Edwardian semi-detached family home for under £800,000 – a far cry from Brighton prices.
Banbury instead of Oxford
There is a clear difference in house prices. Banbury costs an average of just £357,000 compared to £554,000 in Oxford – but there are other advantages.
Oxford is introducing controversial new traffic restrictions for residents while Banbury has a 65-minute fast rail link to London Marylebone.
A new out-of-town shopping park, Gateway Banbury, has opened just off the M40, while the existing Castle Quay shopping center in the town has been upgraded to include a popular arts centre. Waitrose has also opened a hypermarket in Banbury.
James Shaw, director of buying agency Prime Purchase, said: “Moving a little further gives you better value and a more affordable family home, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see the upward pressure on prices as a result.’
Ely instead of Cambridge
With its spectacular medieval cathedral, parks, renowned schools and numerous annual fairs and festivals, Ely, officially one of the smallest towns in the UK, can only be described as second best after Cambridge.
But it certainly offers better value for money homes – an average of £321,000 compared to Cambridge’s £493,000.
“Buyers often come from London or Cambridge, two of the most expensive cities in the UK,” says Edward Russell of estate agency Jackson Stops.
Fast trains to the capital take around 70 minutes and new homes are being built: the biggest project is Orchards Green, a 200-acre site just north of the city that will have 1,200 homes.
Ely’s family image is cemented by the modern Ely Leisure Village.
Exmouth instead of Exeter
The university town of Exeter may have an academic and sporting pedigree, but the city lacks a beautiful coastline.
That’s why Exmouth, with its two-mile sandy beach and 200-berth marina, is so popular as a family alternative just 35 minutes from Exeter by train.
Prices are similar to Exeter (Zoopla puts both locations as selling homes for an average of £377,000 last year), but Exmouth has a burgeoning reputation as a watersports hotspot.
A three-bedroom semi-detached house in Exmouth starts at £280,000 while a two-bedroom apartment in the marina costs £325,000.
Inland, a detached house with a garden costs up to £550,000 while exceptional properties with stunning sea views will fetch £1million.
“Demand has increased due to Exmouth’s strong appeal to a range of buyers and because the houses are cheaper than other popular locations nearby such as Budleigh Salterton and Sidmouth,” says Nick Cunningham of Stacks Property Search .
Salford instead of Manchester
A decade ago you could buy a house in Salford for less than £100,000 but the area was then put on the map when the BBC built its giant MediaCity and now it’s been joined by ITV and a series of other creative giants.
It’s no wonder its average house price (£217,000, according to Zoopla) isn’t far behind the £241,000 norm for all of Manchester.
There’s more to come in this new community dominated by modern apartments, many of which are rented to professional tenants.
Investment specialists are tipping the balance in favor of future price growth thanks to the council’s local plan calling for 40,000 new jobs and an 11% increase in local population by 2037.
On the market… new favorites
West Sussex: There are three bedrooms in this Grade II listed lodge. The property is in Worthing, West Sussex, and has a gym in the garage as well as a pretty garden. Savills, 01798 345980. £950,000
Devon: This modern three-storey house is in Exmouth. There is 1,450 square feet of space including four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a garage and off-street parking. Bradleys, 01395 222300. £650,000
Oxfordshire: This five-bedroom house in Banbury has open-plan living areas, some with floor-to-ceiling windows. There is a garden with a raised terrace and a home office annex. Strutt and Parker, 01295 641123. £650,000