External street photography of Berry Acres, Paignton

South West Property Buying Guide

About the South West

The South West is the largest geographic region in England yet with the fourth-lowest population count, being home to over five million people across seven counties: Bristol, Cornwall, Dorset, Devon, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire.


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.

External street photography of Berry Acres, Paignton

South West property market prices & trends

The UK’s property market has experienced a growth of just under 10% in the 12 months leading to December 2022. Likewise, property prices in the South West increased by 15% from 2020. Bristol County and Cornwall recorded the highest increase, with prices up by 16%, followed by Devon and Somerset.

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

Thanks to the size and diversity of the region, there are numerous opportunities for investors, from historic fishing villages along the coast to industrial powerhouses.

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

External image of the Maidstone and Denford show homes at Victoria Heights
Packed with dramatic landscapes, culture, centuries-old cities and a top culinary scene, the South West is a beautiful place to call home. The West Country is the land of green valleys and a rugged coastline.


It 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

School Ofsted Rating Date of Inspection
Bridestowe Primary School Good June 2022
Exwick Heights Primary School Outstanding September 2020
Allenbourn Middle School Outstanding January 2021
Bishop Road Primary School Outstanding November 2020
Seaton Primary School Outstanding March 2020
Winkleigh Primary School Good
June 2022
Chagford School of England Primary
Outstanding July 2022
Twynham School Outstanding November 2020
Colyton Grammar School Outstanding January 2023
St James Church of England Primary and Nursery School
March 2023

Best places to move to be close to nature in the South West

Cyclists along the Tarka Trail, North Devon.

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.

St Ives

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

Chapel Gate Street Scene, Chester 4 bedroom home, Alderney 4 bedroom home
With properties to suit all budgets, the South West is a brilliant choice for first-time buyers and property investors.

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 Bristol

Quirky, 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.


On 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 Plymouth

With 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. 

Exterior street scene of our 4 bed Radleigh home

Buying your home in Bournemouth

Bournemouth is a beautiful place for a new home, shaped by a seven-mile stretch of glorious coastline. Visit the pier, enjoy ice cream on the shore or soak up the sun in summer. Thanks to their convenient location, homes in Bournemouth are popular among families, young professionals, older couples and commuters.


Lying at the foot of Cranborne Chase, Wimborne is a desirable market town not far from Bournemouth City Centre. Homes here offer exciting local amenities, plenty of walking opportunities and easy access to nearby nature. The property market recorded a rise of 20% between 2020 and 2023, with detached homes being the best-selling.


Looking to live along the coast? New homes in Poole could be up your street. This quaint seaside town has plenty going for it, whether you’re a nature enthusiast or love experiencing the culture of a place. Like Bournemouth, house prices increased by almost 20% from 2020 to 2023.

Buying your home in Swindon

Midway between the Cotswolds and the North Wessex Downs, Swindon is an ever-evolving town in Wiltshire, favoured for its excellent commuting links to London; trains to Paddington take less than an hour. The M4 is also close, providing access to Bristol and Reading in the opposite direction.

Buying your home in Gloucester

Gloucester is known for its majestic 11th-century cathedral, blending Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Property prices rose by less than 10% between 2020 and 2023, with buyers preferring semi-detached houses over flats.


Just ten miles west of Gloucester, Newent is a pretty market town with plenty going for it. It lies within reach of Wye Valley, Malvern Hills and the Cotswolds, providing excellent access to Cheltenham and Hereford.


On the western banks of the River Severn, Lydney offers access to the Forest of Dean, Newport and Cardiff a little further afield. Thanks to its picturesque location, house prices rose slightly more than 10% from 2020 to 2023.

Buying your home in Exeter

Exeter is packed with art, history and fascinating culture. Its cobbled streets, medieval and Georgian buildings and thriving student population make the city a brilliant place to live. There are many opportunities for walks and hikes, with Dartmoor National Park and Blackdown Hills close at hand. Property prices rose by 15% between 2020 and 2023.


With Exmoor National Park nearby and many green spaces, Tiverton is a perfect place to live if you love nature. It is surrounded by the spectacular Devon countryside, within reach of Exe Valley Way. It provides good access to Exeter and Taunton. Property prices increased by around 5% between 2020 and 2023.

Our Offers to Help You Get Moving

Help to Sell Schemes

We have a range of schemes to help you sell your existing home.


Low Deposit Schemes

If you have a low deposit, we have a variety of schemes to help make moving more affordable.


Own New - Rate Reducer

Own New - Rate Reducer is a brand-new scheme available on new build homes that could mean lower mortgage rates and reduced monthly payments.


Key Worker Scheme

We could help make your move with our Key Worker Deposit Contribution Scheme.


Parent Power

If you’re getting financial support from your family or friends to help you get on the property ladder, we could match it, up to a maximum of 5% of the purchase price.



Part Exchange

We could be your guaranteed buyer, so no stress or fuss, just an easy move for you and your family.