House prices in three university towns have more than doubled during the past five years, figures showed today.
The average cost of a home in Belfast soared by 105% between June 2003 and June 2008, despite recent property price falls, according to Halifax.
Dundee also saw strong house price gains of 101% during the period, while in Bangor, the average property’s value rose by 100%.
A further 20 university towns saw average price rises of at least 50% during the five years, with Aberdeen and Bradford leading the way with increases of 95% and 94% respectively.
Guildford is the UK’s most expensive university town in which to buy a property, with the average home there costing £363,503 (€449,384).
It is closely followed by Winchester at £343,332 (€424,447) and Bath at £326,403 (€403,518), with all 10 of the UK’s most expensive university towns being in the South East.
At the other end of the scale, Hull has the most affordable accommodation of all university towns, with average house prices of just £124,108 (€153,430), while Stoke on Trent at £130,336 (€161,129) and Bradford at £131,464 (€162,523) are only slightly more expensive.
The group, which looked at house prices in 64 university towns excluding London, said in nine of the towns properties sold at a premium of at least £20,000 (€24,725) compared with homes in the county as a whole, with Winchester commanding the biggest premium of £114,489 (€141,538) or 50%.
Bath commands the next highest premium compared with the rest of the county at £98,562 (€121,848) or 43%, followed by Cambridge at £90,699 (€112,127) or 44% and Warwick at £93,281) or 46%.
Nitesh Patel, economist at Halifax, said: “Over a third of the university towns in this review experienced average house price growth of over 50% in the last five years.
“While it can be a good investment, the decision to buy a property for a son or daughter at university ultimately depends on the parents’ personal circumstances and property prices around the university in question.”