The number of wards in Hertfordshire where the average house price is now £500,000-plus has increased by 35% since the start of the pandemic, according to new research.

There are now 87 wards in the county where the average house price is more than half-a-million pounds – compared to 64 at the end of 2019, says property firm Savills.

This means that 48.8 per cent of all wards in Herts now have an average house price of £500,000 and above.

Average property prices in Colney Heath, Park Street and Sandridge in St Albans now all top £500,000 compared to two years ago for example, while it is a similar story for Potters Bar Furzefield and Oakmere in Hertsmere, Kimpton, Letchworth South West and Hitchwood, Offa and Hoo in North Herts.

All wards in Welwyn Hatfield already topped the half-a-million mark, with Brookmans Park and Little Heath coming in the highest at £954,188, and Sherrards the lowest at £518,977.

Across the east of England as a whole the number of £500,000-plus property hotspots has increased from 134 to 194 – 18.9 per cent of all wards throughout the region.

Nick Ingle, head of residential sales at Savills' Harpenden office, said the increase reflected a surge in demand for properties in more rural parts of the county as well as semi-suburban locations.

“The momentum for moving throughout the pandemic – born from a desire for more space, and spurred on by the government’s stamp duty holiday – resulted in a mini-house price boom across the country,” he explained.

“But with stock in long-favoured hotspots unable to meet increased demand, surrounding wards benefited, too. As a result, we’ve seen several new geographical areas breaking the half-a-million pound threshold over the past two years.

“The recent increase in prices means the range of options for those with smaller budgets is shrinking. However, that said, the successive rate rises and increasing cost of living are likely to bring more caution over the coming months.

“Our researchers are forecasting price growth to progressively slow, potentially to low single-digit figures in coming years, providing welcome relief to many who are wanting to make their next move. Looking ahead to the rest of the year, the market will likely become more price sensitive, so setting a sensible and realistic guide price will be key.”