House price inflation picks up with Luton the 2016 hotspot, Halifax says
A town best known for its airport, Vauxhall vans, and as the home of Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, was the UK's property hotspot last year, according to the UK's largest mortgage lender.
Luton saw house prices rise 19.4% in 2016, the Halifax said.
Annual house price inflation ticked up again last month across the UK, the lender said, with prices rising by 6.5% in the year to the end of December.
That was up from a rate of 6.0% in November and 5.2% in October.
Between March and October 2016, inflation had been easing.
The latest increase leaves the average UK house price at £222,484, according to the Halifax, another record level.
"House prices finished 2016 strongly," said Martin Ellis, Halifax chief economist.
However, he said house price inflation was expected to cool in 2017, to between 1% and 4%.
"Slower economic growth, pressure on employment and a squeeze on spending power, together with affordability constraints, are expected to reduce housing demand during 2017," Mr Ellis said.
Earlier this month the Nationwide said that house prices increased by 4.5% in 2016, the same rate as 2015.
The average house in Luton increased in price by £41,700 during 2016, to £256,636.
The Halifax said the main reason was that the town is within easy commuting distance of London, but still has relatively low property prices.
Dunstable, a few miles away, saw prices rise by 17.9% during the year.