What’s appeal of Norfolk town with UK’s third largest house price rise?
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
A Norfolk town has experienced the third largest house price increase of towns across country in the past year, according to a new report.
Diss was only beaten by the seaside town of Ryde on the Isle of Wight and Smethwick in the West Midlands for property price growth in 2018, with average prices rising almost eight per cent compared with house price inflation across the UK as a whole falling to one per cent.
The figures were compiled by the property website Zoopla who looked at house price performances in towns with their own post codes with 10,000 properties or more in 2018.
They found the current average house value in Diss is £311,486, with a growth of 7.89pc. That compared with a decline of 1.7pc in London prices, while in the east of England prices fell on average by 0.5pc over the year.
Rowena Youngson, senior property valuer at Diss-based estate agents and auctioneers TW Gaze, said the South Norfolk town's housing market was buoyed by people retiring and commuters attracted by the mainline station less than two hours from London.
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She said: 'There has always been a steady stream of retiring people moving to Diss from Kent and Essex and the south generally. Essex people like it because they can get back to see family easily.
'Some people still commute and commuting to London is viable, particularly because we have faster trains coming in 2020. Depending on their work we find people may partly work from home and perhaps commute two or three times a week.'
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'The majority of people coming to the area want to escape the rat race but are drawn by what the area has to offer and its easy transport links.'
Sarah Holloway and her husband Mike moved their family to the town in September from South Ockendon in Essex. She said: 'We moved for a variety of reasons - to be closer to my parents and family who moved to Suffolk more than 20 years ago, we wanted a more suitable property for our needs and mainly we wanted our children to grow up in a safer environment than the one we were currently in.
'We fell in love with Diss on our first visit, and were fortunate enough to find a suitable property that was close enough to town to be able to walk to the station, for the children to walk to and from school and gain independence and yet feels like we aren't confined by traffic jams and the normal town centre pitfalls.
'We have no regrets about moving but slight apprehensions of telling everyone we are so happy in case they all get the same idea!'
For families relocating to the town schools remain a big factor, said Mrs Youngson, but the popularity of villages surrounding Diss was often linked to their facilities.
She said: 'Good schools, doctors and shops always add to a premium to property prices. Schools are very important for buyers with families. There is always demand particularly around the Hartismere School catchment area.
'The hot villages still remain Hoxne, Pulham Market, which is doing very well because it has a doctors' surgery, as does Fressingfield. Botesdale and Rickinghall always do well, Gissingham has seen a lot of expansion recently too.'
Keith Kiddie, who represents Diss on South Norfolk Council, said: 'It is a classic English market town with attractive features like the Mere, a market and a good arts complex, but with a population of 8 or 9,000 it is not too big. It's a pleasant place in what is generally still very much a rural area.
'It is also conveniently situated about half way between Norwich and Bury St Edmunds and is on the mainline into London which is undoubtedly a big attraction, particularly with plans to reduce the journey time to 90 minutes. People see they can live in a pleasant place like Diss but still be central.'
RISING HOUSE PRICES IN DISS
• Three bedroom detached house Croft Lane, Diss, for sale with a guide price of £345,000, sold in 2017 for £225,000.
• Five bedroom detached home in Ensign Way, Diss, currently on sale for £330,000, bought in 2007 for £247,950.
• Four bedroom detached house in Frenze Road, Diss, for sale for offers in excess of £520,000, sold in 2005 for £232,000
• Four bedroom detached house for sale in Louies Lane, Diss, for £290,000, sold in 2002 for £115,000.
HOUSE PRICES: TOP RISES AND FALLS
Top five towns for property price growth
(current average vale and % increase since January 2018)
1. Ryde, Isle of Wight, £242,016 (10.24pc)
2. Smethwick, West Midlands, £163,627 (9.67pc)
3. Diss, Norfolk, £311,486 (7.89pc)
4. Broadstairs, Kent, £333,212 (7.63pc)
5. Pontypool, Torfaen, £162,319 (7.52pc)
Bottom five towns for property price growth
(current average vale and % decrease since January 2018)
1 Alnwick, Northumberland: £238,802 (-6.58%)
2 Biggleswade, Bedfordshire: £329,206 (-6.49%)
3 Nantwich, Cheshire: £276,647 (-5.60%)
4 Eastleigh, Hampshire: £337,784 (-5.19%)
5 Hebburn, Tyne & Wear: £135,835 (-4.88%)