HOUSE prices in Bournemouth have been rising at higher rates than almost anywhere else in the country, research suggests.

The town was second only to Cheltenham in a national league table of property price hikes.

Bournemouth saw prices rise by 11.7 per cent last year, compared with an average rise across the country of 2.7 per cent.

The increase left the price of the average Bournemouth home standing at £273,687, up by £28,587 on 2016.

That leaves homes in the town far out of the reach of the average first time buyer, with average salaries standing at £24,093, according to the online resource PayScale.

Halifax used its own house price database to analyse prices in 119 postal towns and 24 London authorities.

Fifteen of the 20 areas with the highest price rises were in London and the south, Halifax said.

Cheltenham, which topped the national league table, saw its average house prices rise by 13 per cent to £313,150.

Brighton was in third place, with the average price of a home there rising 11.7 per cent to £374,662.

Halifax managing director Russell Galley said: “A number of towns and cities have recorded significant rises in house prices over the past year, with all of the top 20 performers recording growth of at least double the national average.

“Unlike last year, the top performers are not exclusive to London and the South East, with the top spot now belonging to Cheltenham in the South West, and towns in East Anglia, East Midlands, North West, Wales and Yorkshire and the Humber also making the list.”

Nigel Price, residential chairman with Dorset property specialist Goadsby, said the 11.7 per cent figure struck him and colleagues as higher than they had observed.

“I think there has been an increase and I think the increase has mostly been driven by a shortage of property available,” he said.

“The reason prices have been forced up is because of a short supply of property.

“Clearly, Bournemouth is not cheap. It’s not a cheap place but I think those figures seem a bit high to me.”

The other towns and London boroughs in the national top 10 for price rises consisted of Crawley, Newham, Peterborough, Gloucester, Huddersfield, Exeter and Nottingham.

Average prices fell in Perth, Stoke-on-Trent, Paisley, Wakefield, Rotherham, Dunfermline, Barnsley, Aberdeen, Bromley, Breadford, Leeds, Hounslow and Sunderland.

Halifax has previously said it expects house prices nationally to rise by up to three per cent in 2018, but for growth to be weakest in London and the south east.

Interest rates rose for the first time in a decade last November, from 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent, potentially dampening demand for mortgages.

However, chancellor Philip Hammond sought to boost home ownership by abolishing stamp duty for first time buyers on homes up to £300,000.