Find out where some of the hottest property areas are in Bristol and beyond
While there may be signs of a modest slow-down in growth of house prices, the South West has seen rises of 11.4% year on year – the highest ever recorded. Meanwhile, Wales tops the growth charts in the UK at 14.6% and the highest jump in buyer demand of 44%, fuelled in part by people relocating from more expensive areas*.
In South Wales, areas along the M4 corridor such as Cardiff, Newport and Chepstow have become increasingly popular, with houses featuring gardens and offices being quickly snapped up, and more rural and semi-rural areas stretching as far as the Brecon Beacons also seeing a growth in interest and prices.
With a wealth of choice in property and location, and good travel connections via motorway or train – plus the ability to work from home – South Wales is attracting a lot of buyers, which, in turn, is increasing demand.
South Wales offers a multitude of activities from stunning walks and waterfalls in the Brecon Beacons, or a visit to one of its many castles, to a trip to Cardiff Bay with its array of activities such as white water rafting.
Or why not visit St Fagans National Museum of History or the Principality Stadium, home to the Welsh rugby team?
Price boom towns
Chepstow and Newport have already seen a price boom a few years ago, following the removal of the Severn bridges tolls. Chepstow lies within easy reach of both Cardiff and Bristol and also just 13 miles from the beautiful Forest of Dean. With a wealth of history on its doorstep, from its own castle to nearby Tintern, Chepstow remains a popular location.
Newport, poised on the M4 corridor, likewise has great access to both Bristol and Cardiff. It hit an all-time high in property price growth back in November, driven by lockdown savings in many households, low mortgage rates and increased interest from buyers from England.
For historians, take a trip to the Newport Medieval Ship project or Carleon Roman Fortress and Baths. For nature lovers, Wentworth Forest and Newport Wetlands are must-sees.
With house prices growing, on average, by £1,000 per month during the pandemic, according to the March House Price Index Report, Bristol remains an extremely in-demand location for a variety of buyers. Up around 12% year on year, according to Rightmove, Bristol is one of the most popular cities in the UK, offering a variety of homes and communities and there has been an abundance of new redevelopment work.
Some of its popular locations include the hip Montpelier suburb with its Bohemian vibe and artisan shops; the leafy district of Greenbank, enjoying much redevelopment; St Werburghs with its thriving community and city farm; the vibrant St Pauls with its nightclubs, music, cafés and bars; and the affluent Redland, with its broad leafy avenues and Victorian villas, and home to new development Redland Court. Redland Court offers a mix of original and new-build buildings, set within picturesque grounds on the old site of Redland High Girls’ School.
Also popular with tourists, Bristol was named the best city in Britain in which to live in 2014 and 2017, and won the European Green Capital Award in 2015.
IMAGE: Harshil Shah
With a rich creative industry fuelling its economy, you will find an array of artistic venues from the Arnolfini and Spike Island by the harbour to Bristol’s famous ‘Banksy’ art trail, running from central to the east of Bristol, including Stokes Croft in Bristol’s cultural quarter.
There is also plenty of green space to enjoy including Snuff Mills with its riverside walks, Ashton Court with its acres of space and sporting activities, the large Victorian Eastville Park and the historic park and garden of Stoke Park Estate.
Plus, Bristol enjoys good motorway and rail links, as well as its own airport.
North Somerset has become increasingly popular, driven by the desire for more indoor and outdoor space, and prices rose by an average of 12% last year*.
You will find a variety of locations to live, from the villages of Long Ashton – which lies just four miles from Bristol City Centre – Yatton and Wrington, to the rising in popularity coastal towns of Clevedon, with its Victorian Pier, and Weston Super Mare, with plenty of golden sands.
One such new development is Cox’s Green at Wrington, a collection of individually designed two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom homes situated on the periphery of sought-after Wrington.
And, not forgetting, Portishead, with its marina and bustling bars and independent shops.
There is a wealth of things to do from cycling and walking trails, such as the Strawberry Line, to a day out at Cheddar Gorge including a visit to its caves and cheese-making outlet. Or why not try the dry ski slopes at Churchill, or visit the beautiful Barley Wood walled gardens, complete with pop-up café and restaurant at Wrington?
From green rolling hills to seaside locations, there is an abundance of choice of where to live, from small villages to bigger towns, and all within commutable distances of Bristol via car, train or bike. Plus, Bristol airport is easily accessible for when we can travel more freely.
Chippenham & Corsham
Set in Wiltshire, major commuter town Chippenham lies just four miles south of the M4, with fantastic links to Bristol, Swindon, South Wales and London, and it has its own station. It, too, is benefiting from redevelopment such as Rowden Brook, a collection of individually designed two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom homes, forming part of a new village community.
Nearby Corsham lies just four miles from Bath and 20 miles south-east of Bristol at the south-western edge of the Cotswolds and was voted the fourth best place to live in the South West by the Sunday Times in 2019.
Also enjoying a buoyant property market, sold prices in Wiltshire were 11% up on the previous year and 13% up on 2018 when the average house price was £290,441 (Rightmove).
IMAGE: Chippenham, Hugh Llewellyn Flickr
The pretty market town of Corsham is known for its peacocks who wander its streets and for starring in Poldark! While Corsham Court offers much parkland to enjoy. And inside the Saxon royal manor house, you will find its famous picture gallery designed by Capability Brown (who also designed the gardens).
Chippenham is known for its colourful street markets, where you can find an array of traditional and contemporary stalls. Chippenham and its surrounding villages have been featured in many a film and TV drama, including Harry Potter, Pride & Prejudice, War Horse, Stardust and Poirot.
Near to both towns, you can visit Longleat, Dyrham Park and Castle Combe Racing Circuit.
The historic town of Bath remains very much a popular place to live, with house prices rising a slightly more modest 6.24% year on year but with a whopping average price paid of £529,206 (Zoopla). Flats, however, have seen a growth of nearly 12%, and semis, just over 11.5%.
The largest city in Somerset, and one of the top 10 most visited cities in England**, Bath is known for its famous Roman Baths and Abbey and the city became a World Heritage site back in 1987.
With its beautiful Georgian architecture, must-see places include the Circus, Royal Crescent, Assembly Rooms and Pump Room. The cultural city offers a variety of museums to visit, including the Fashion Museum and Holburne, has its own Theatre Royal, offers canal trips and plenty of beautiful parks to relax in, and has a stunning thermae spa to unwind in.
Not forgetting it was home to novelist Jane Austen, perhaps most famous for Pride and Prejudice and Emma.
With its own train station, as well as nearby Bristol and Chippenham, it has great links to London, as well as direct trains through to Cardiff.
Nestled between Bristol and Bath – and with the benefit of its own train station and nearness to the A4 – Keynsham is a popular town to live. Sold prices year on year are up 8%, with an average price of £349,322***.
The market town enjoys an annual festival at the Memorial Ground, has a number of nature reserves to enjoy and beautiful views of surrounding hills and woods. For a family trip out, visit nearby Avon Valley Country Park or go on a steam train ride at Bitton.
IMAGE: Keynsham, Hugh Llewellyn Flickr
It is perhaps known for its Cadburys Somerdale factory, which closed back in 2011 and now houses the Chocolate Quarter retirement village.
Keynsham offers all the benefits of a market town – with well-known chains as well as a variety of independent outlets – the advantages of two cities nearby yet has beautiful countryside on its doorstep. No wonder it remains ever popular.
** Travel trends – Office for National Statistics www.ons.gov.uk. Retrieved 18 July 2020
*** HM Land Registry, 7 June 2021
Main image: Bath Jim Rosebery Flickr