What do the property markets in North Norfolk, Kensington and Chelsea and East Devon have in common?
They are the only areas of the nation where more than 70 per cent of homes are owned outright, according to research by London lettings and estate agent Benham and Reeves.
The firm analysed data from the Office for National Statistics, based on the property market balance between homes owned outright and those owned with a mortgage.
Across England, there are an estimated 15.8m homes either owned outright or with the help of a mortgage. Some 9.3m of these are owned outright, meaning that 59 per cent of homeowners own 100 per cent of equity within their home.
Regionally, this proportion is highest in the South West where 62 per cent own their home outright, while in contrast, London is home to the lowest proportion of outright ownership at 55 per cent.
However, the capital does account for the second hottest housing equity hotspot at a more granular level.
The research shows that 71 per cent of homeowners own their home outright across the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Only North Norfolk is home to a higher proportion at 72 per cent, while East Devon ranks as the only other area to hit 70.0 per cent.
Other areas that make the top 10 include Rother, East Lindsey, Derbyshire Dales, Tendring, Chichester, West Devon and Torridge - all 68 to 69 per cent.
Director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, comments: “Homeownership is a journey that many embark on and the most exciting stage is, of course, getting that first foot on the ladder with a property we can call our own.
“Even now, with the higher cost of borrowing and wider market uncertainties, there remains a real urgency from serious buyers to climb the ladder. This is because they understand that the property market is subject to cycles but is underpinned by long-term growth and so bricks and mortar still holds high appeal as an asset class.
“But getting onto the ladder is really only the start of the journey and while climbing it may take many years, the ultimate goal is to own our home mortgage free. For some, this may seem like a distant dream, particularly at present with the sharp increase in mortgage rates seen in recent months. However, it is a dream that the majority do come to realise and in some areas of the nation, over 70% of homes are owned outright.
“This proportion of the market is also growing, and quite considerably in some cases. This trend is likely to continue, particularly given current market uncertainties, as homeowners look to build equity and escape the increased cost of borrowing brought on by higher interest rates.”