HOUSE price growth in rural areas "has outperformed urban locations", an analysis has found - writes Vicky Shaw, PA Personal Finance Correspondent.

House prices have risen faster in rural areas than in urban locations over the past five years, an analysis by a building society has found.

In Somerset West and Taunton the average house price in December 2021 was £286,910, and the annual price increase was 17 per cent, an analysis by a building society has found.

In general, rural detached properties have seen the strongest rates of price growth, while urban flats have recorded the weakest price increases, according to Nationwide.

Property values in areas which are mainly rural have risen by 29 per cent over the past five years, while those in predominantly urban areas have increased by 18 per cent, Nationwide Building Society said.

The coronavirus pandemic and more flexible working opportunities have prompted some people to relocate to more rural areas in recent years.

Between December 2016 and December 2021, rural detached properties increased in price by 32 per cent on average, while urban flats typically added six per cent on to their value.

Some areas closely associated with tourism, including parts of Devon, South Wales, the Cotswolds, and the Broads have seen particularly big price jumps recently, the report said.

This may suggest that demand may be being driven by those buying holiday or second homes.

Andrew Harvey, a senior economist at Nationwide, said: “ONS data suggests that the rate of second home ownership is significantly above average in areas such as South Hams, Pembrokeshire, and Ceredigion, areas which are amongst those seeing the fastest rates of growth.”

Here are the top-performing local authority areas for house price growth across Britain in 2021, according to Nationwide Building Society, and their urban/rural classifications.

The figures show average house prices in December 2021 and the annual price increase:

1. North Devon, South West, rural, £326,848, 24 per cent

=2. South Hams, South West, rural, £420,851, 22 per cent

=2. Rushcliffe, East Midlands, rural, £355,398, 22 per cent

4. Ceredigion, Wales, rural, £244,619, 21 per cent

5. Camden, London, urban, £947,511, 20 per cent

=6. Hastings, South East, urban, £271,432, 19 per cent

=6. Pembrokeshire, Wales, rural, £231,355, 19 per cent

=6. South Norfolk, East of England, rural, £330,003, 19 per cent

=6. Cotswold, South West, rural, £481,402, 19 per cent

=6. Na h-Eileanan Siar, Scotland, rural, £144,755, 19 per cent

=11. Torridge, South West, rural, £293,098, 18 per cent

=11. Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, urban, £287,199, 18 per cent

=11. Mid Devon, South West, rural, £287,337, 18 per cent

=11. Eastleigh, South East, urban, £339,946, 18 per cent

=11. Broadland, East of England, urban with significant rural aspects, £319,182, 18 per cent

=16. Hyndburn, North West, urban, £120,038, 17 per cent

=16. Somerset West and Taunton, South West, rural, £286,910, 17 per cent

=16. Maldon, East of England, rural £399,937, 17 per cent

=16. East Hampshire, South East, rural, £451,320, 17 per cent

=16. Wyre Forest, West Midlands, urban with significant rural aspects, £241,109, 17 per cent