The best small cities in England to buy a house in 2022

For great schools but lower prices, Lichfield in Staffordshire ranks highly. Here, homes cost that cost roughly half those in St Albans, at £322,437.

It has become newly popular with Londoners. Five years ago, the average buyer in Lichfield came from within a 12 mile radius, said John Rowles, of Dixons estate agents in Lichfield. “Now, 65pc of our buyers are coming from 45 miles away.” Lichfield is now a magnet for people working in Birmingham and the capital. The train to Euston is an hour and 34 minutes. Prices have jumped 15pc year-on-year.

Durham, which has 2.7 good or outstanding schools per 10,000 residents, is a more affordable option with average property prices at £224,943.

Downsizers

Truro in Cornwall came top of the list for downsizers, who make up half of local buyers, according to Sophie Bowden, of Miller Countrywide estate agents. The research found that the city has 16.2 healthcare faclities for every 10,000 residents, which was double the second highest ratio.

Homes cost £313,628. Downsizers opt primarily for neighbourhoods on the outskirts, such as Highertown to the west. Competition for bungalows is particularly fierce. “Everyone wants one now, even younger buyers, because they tend to have a bigger footprint and can be extended,” said Ms Bowden. Some are bidding 20pc over asking. But downsizers are more likely to have the edge in a bidding war as they are often cash buyers.

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