South West Property Buying Guide
About the South West
With four world heritage sites, including Stonehenge and the City of Bath, this historic region has plenty going for it. Whether you prefer the city lifestyle in Bristol and Exeter or slower-paced market towns like Cheltenham and Swindon, the South West has it all. You’ll also find plenty of green spaces, with two National Parks – Exmoor and Dartmoor – and the stunning Jurassic Coast.
If you’re on the lookout for your first home in this beautiful part of England, our comprehensive buying guide will take you through every step. You can explore the mortgage options available and our range of schemes if you buy your first home with us. If you’re a property investor, we have competitive interest rates for you to take advantage of.
South West property market prices & trends
Despite property prices above the national average, the region offers opportunities for all budgets, from picturesque Truro and Falmouth to buzzing cities like Gloucester and Plymouth.
Read on as we explore the best investment areas and our newest and upcoming developments in the region.
Best investment areas in the South West
Bristol is one of the most promising areas to invest in, the region’s economic capital. Benefitting from a convenient location close to London, Bristol boasts an excellent employment rate, a thriving student population and fantastic local facilities. Houses here have grown in popularity over recent years, with property prices increasing by more than 15% between 2020 and 2023.
Another hotspot for property investors is Taunton in Somerset. This large city offers excellent travel links to Exeter thanks to its proximity to the M5, with regular rail services to Bristol, London Paddington and the West Midlands. As an up-and-coming area, property prices rose sharply between 2020 and 2023, up by 15%.
Bournemouth and Swindon are also two brilliant investment spots. Bournemouth is a coastal resort in Dorset that attracts thousands of tourists every year thanks to its glorious beaches and fantastic scenery. House prices rose by 20% between 2020 and 2023. Likewise, Swindon’s property market is flourishing, with prices rising by just under 10% in the same period.
The most sought-after property areas in the South West
Bradford-on-AvonIt may not be as known as its neighbour Bath, but Bradford-on-Avon is equally charming. Voted by the Sunday Times as one of the Best Places to Live in The UK in 2021, this picturesque town lies between the Cotswolds and the North Wessex Downs and is crossed by the River Avon. It’s surrounded by green valleys and open countryside and offers excellent links to Bath, Trowbridge and Chippenham.
Voted the Best Place to Live in The UK by the Sunday Times, Stroud is a quaint market town at the meeting point of the Five Valleys in Gloucestershire. Surrounded by spectacular stretches of open countryside, the place is famous for its steep streets and rolling hills. There’s plenty to explore in and around the area, from the Cotswolds to Sladebank Woods.
A stone’s throw from Poole and Bournemouth, new homes in Newtown are a firm favourite among homebuyers. They benefit from proximity to New Forest National Park, Cranborne Chase and Dorset AONB.
Best places to move with your family in the South West
On the South West Coast, Torquay is a perfect location to enjoy Devon’s beaches and coastal trails, complemented by excellent local schools.
Salisbury is a charming cathedral city in Wiltshire, with rich culture and history. This place is among the most popular in the South West, with the World Heritage Stonehenge and the Iron Age fort at Old Sarum.
This attractive seaside town in Dorset could be ideal if you want to live by the coast. On the Rivers Avon and Stour, Christchurch offers parks, boutiques, cosy cafés and seven Ofsted-rated outstanding schools.
Ofsted rankings of best schools in the South West
|Date of Inspection
|Bridestowe Primary School
|Exwick Heights Primary School
|Allenbourn Middle School
|Bishop Road Primary School
|Seaton Primary School
|Winkleigh Primary School
|Chagford School of England Primary
|Colyton Grammar School
|St James Church of England Primary and Nursery School
Best places to move to be close to nature in the South West
This region boasts some of the most scenic landscapes in the UK. Whether looking for a riverside, lakeside or beachfront property, you’ll be spoiled for choice in the South West.
Wake up to turquoise water and golden sand in St Ives. Voted one of the top-emerging spots in the UK by TripAdvisor, this town in Cornwall never fails to impress. Whether you fancy strolling along the coast, soaking up culture at Tate St Ives or fine dining, this part of England offers an excellent quality of life.
This village lies in the heart of Devon, a perfect base for exploring the area’s many green spaces. Withleigh is also a short drive from Exmoor National Park, Blackdown Hills and Dartmoor National Park.
Nestled between two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – Cranbourne Chase and the Mendip Hills – there’s plenty to explore in Frome. The picturesque Cotswolds and North Wessex Downs are nearby, while Bath and Bristol are easily commutable.
Buying in the South West towns & cities
From dynamic cities like Bristol and Plymouth to small fishing villages along the Cornish coast, there’s something suited to all lifestyles. If transport links are your priority, this part of England is efficiently connected in all directions. Two significant roads enter the region from the east: the M4 from London to South Wales and the M5 from the Midlands through Gloucestershire, Bristol and Exeter.
The region also lies on several mainline railways, including the Great Western Main Line from Paddington to Bristol, the South West Main Line from London to Dorset and the West England Main Rail from London to Exeter.
Buying your home in BristolQuirky, dynamic and young, Bristol is a city like no other. Its rich maritime heritage, unique street art, museums and picturesque harbour make it a popular destination among homebuyers.
YateOn the southern edge of the Cotswolds, a short distance from Bristol City Centre, Yate is a great commuter town. It’s an excellent alternative if you prefer the suburbs to a big city. House prices in Yate rose by 6% between 2020 and 2023.
Buying your home in PlymouthWith so much on offer, this port city on the Devon coast is desirable for first-time buyers and investors. Bordered by Cornwall to the west and southwest, Plymouth provides excellent commuting links to Torquay, Paignton and Exeter. House prices rose by more than 10% between 2020 and 2023.
Known as the ‘Gateway to Cornwall’, this picturesque town on the other side of the Tamar Bridge is a beautiful place to live. With easy access to Plymouth City Centre and the Cornish countryside, homes in Saltash have grown in popularity over recent years. This explains the rise in property values by almost 30% between 2020 and 2023.