Street scene view of The Manning and Holden 4 & 5 bedroom homes

South West Property Buying Guide

About the South West

The South West is England’s largest region by area but has the country’s fourth-lowest population. It spreads over 9,000 square miles, home to around six million residents.

The South West includes Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire and Bristol, a city, county and local authority in one. This picturesque corner of the UK is also home to two national parks: Dartmoor and Exmoor. Not to mention a spectacular stretch of coastline and endless beauty spots.

You can learn much more about this beautiful region in our buying guide for South West England. Need more help and advice? Explore our questions to consider during your property search and find tips for buying your first home, upsizing or downsizing.

Moorland Gate external shot - Holden and Ashurst

South West property market prices & trends

The South West grew in popularity last year, with plenty of space to enjoy at home and in the surrounding landscape.

Property prices rose by 15% between 2020 and 2023, with the county of Bristol recording the most significant growth of 16%. Devon and Somerset also experienced a sharp increase in house prices, up by 15% over the same period.

Despite house prices being above the national average, there are plenty of great opportunities to take advantage of in the South West. We have established and upcoming sites in the region at David Wilson Homes, plus buying schemes to help you make your move.

Best investment areas in the South West

A recent study showed two of the top ten Buy to Let areas in the UK are in the South West: Bristol and Swindon.

Bristol is the largest city in the South West with a population of around half a million. Thanks to its location, strong employment rates and travel links, it's a property hotspot. Packed with history and culture, it’s no wonder property prices have grown by over 15% between 2020 and 2023.

Like Bristol, Swindon has seen long-term growth, with house prices increasing by just under 10% between 2020 and 2023. Swindon’s strong commuting links have heavily influenced the popularity of this area.

Plymouth is another excellent place for investment property in the South West. House prices rose by more than 10% between 2020 and 2023.

Investing with us couldn’t be more straightforward, whether searching for your first investment property or the latest addition to your Buy to Let portfolio.

The most sought-after property areas in the South West

outside view hadley,. 3 bed house type, quarter jack park

From top schools to great culture, seaside settings and Michelin-starred restaurants, properties in the South West are popular among homebuyers. The region is a haven for nature enthusiasts thanks to the wide variety of outdoor spaces and spectacular nature spots.

St Ives

A jewel in Cornwall’s striking coastline, this seaside town is one of the UK’s most desirable places to live. Whether you want to enjoy cultural highlights like the Tate St Ives, dine in style or relax on the beach, St Ives has it all.


Named the best place to live in the UK by the Sunday Times, Stroud is an attractive town in Gloucestershire. It is surrounded by beautiful open woodland and rolling hills. Nature lovers will love the proximity to the Cotswolds and Sladebank Woods.


As one of the most famous cities in the South West, Salisbury is small and perfectly formed. It’s brimming with culture, close to the New Forest and Cranbourne Chase and within commuting distance of Bournemouth and Southampton.

Best places to move with your family in the South West

Taunton train station with train stopped at a station

Whether searching for the best cities to raise a family in the South West or setting your sights on a rural village, the region caters to all lifestyles. Ideal for letting little ones experience the great outdoors from a young age, the area also offers family activities and excellent schools.


Taunton is Somerset’s semi-rural town, boasting outstanding primary and secondary schools and a highly-rated college. Between the Quantock Hills and Blackdown Hills, it’s a haven for nature lovers with attractions for the whole family.


Lying midway between Bristol and Swindon and ideal for commuting by road or rail, Chippenham has a selection of schools close to the town centre.


This desirable cathedral city is near the Roseland Heritage Coast, perfect for family living. The National Trust Trelissick Garden and Mallett’s Cottage are also within reach of Truro, along with many beautiful beaches.

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  June 2019
Twynham School  Outstanding  November 2020
Colyton Grammar School  Outstanding  January 2023
St James Church of England Primary and Nursery School  Good  March 2023

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

castle hill located in shafestbury
The increased interest in country homes for sale is shown by the fact that Cornwall and Dorset, famous for their beautiful landscapes, recorded two of the highest house price rises between 2020 and 2023. If you want to live near glorious scenery like Quantock Hills and Tamar Valley, we’ve rounded up some of the best areas to do so below.


On the edge of Cranborne Chase, this little town in Dorset is ideal for exploring the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Bishops Lydeard

On the fringes of the Quantock Hills AONB in Somerset, Bishops Lydeard is a charming rural village. It is located five miles from Taunton and ten miles from the coast and Exmoor in the opposite direction.


Between two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – Cranbourne Chase and the Mendip Hills – Frome is a nature haven like no other. Explore the picturesque Cotswolds or the North Wessex Downs, or shop in Bath or Bristol.

Buying in South West’s towns & cities

Outside view of the Cornell 4 bedroom home
The South West's property prices make this an attractive region for all homebuyers. There are great opportunities here, with fixer-uppers for investment projects and families looking to maximise their budget.

This diverse region is home to vibrant cities like Bristol and picturesque rural villages for a quieter lifestyle. Strong transport links connect the best markets in the South West and neighbouring regions. The M4 and M5 motorways are the major roads for Bristol, Exeter and Swindon.

South Western Railway, Great Western Railway and CrossCountry provide most rail services. Transport for Wales connects Cheltenham and Gloucester with Cardiff and other parts of South Wales.

Buying your home in Bristol

Bristol is the South West's most prominent city, sitting on the River Avon at the convergence of the M4, M5 and M48. It’s an exciting home for residents of all ages, with fun attractions and a rich maritime heritage to explore.


As one of Bristol’s most popular commuter towns, Yate is around ten miles north-east of the city centre, with trains into town taking 20 minutes. House prices rose by 6% between 2020 and 2023.


If you want to live a semi-rural lifestyle while retaining links to Bristol, Gloucester and South Wales, the market town of Thornbury could be for you. House prices increased by a little over 15% between 2020 and 2023.

Buying your home in Plymouth

Devon has a reputation as the friendliest place to live in the UK, and the port city of Plymouth certainly lives up to this good name. With a coastal location close to Dartmoor and the Tamar Valley, Plymouth property prices rose by more than 10% between 2020 and 2023.


Saltash saw house prices rise by almost 30% between 2020 and 2023.

Canalside, Witchelstowe local area imagery

Buying your home in Bournemouth

Bournemouth is one of Dorset’s most popular seaside towns, attractive for its long stretches of sandy beach. This popularity is reflected in local house prices, which increased by almost 20% between 2020 and 2023.


Neighbouring Bournemouth, this welcoming spot ranks among Dorset’s most desirable seaside towns. House prices in Poole experienced a similar increase to Bournemouth, rising by almost 20% between 2020 and 2023.


Around seven miles northwest of Bournemouth Pier, Oakley saw house prices slightly increase by 3% from 2020 to 2023.

Buying your home in Swindon

Swindon is popular among homebuyers thanks to its convenient connections with London. Trains to Paddington station take less than 50 minutes. Travel links are enhanced by the proximity to the M4 motorway and easy access to Bristol.


On the north-western outskirts of Swindon, this quaint market town offers a rural lifestyle around 20 minutes from the town centre by road or rail. House prices in Highworth rose by 3% between 2020 and 2023.

Buying your home in Gloucester

Gloucester is a brilliant place to call home, thanks to its proximity to the Cotswolds. Gloucestershire’s county town has plenty of attractions to admire, including the majestic 11th-century cathedral and superb City Museum. Average property prices rose by more than 15% between 2016 and 2021


If you want to live a little way out of the city, Newent is a 20-minute drive into town, surrounded by stunning countryside. With so many nature spots nearby, it’s no wonder that house prices rose by more than 10% between 2020 and 2023.


Cheltenham is an attractive town known for its ornate architecture. House prices are above Gloucester’s average, increasing by 13% from 2020 to 2023.

Buying your home in Exeter

An attractive city packed with history, Exeter lies on the River Exe, the county town of Devon. It boasts unique culture and access to natural beauty spots. House prices rose by a little over 15% from 2020 to 2023.


Don't miss this charming seaside town if you prefer living on the seafront. Just ten miles from Exeter city centre, house prices in Exmouth rose by 14% between 2020 and 2023.

Our Offers to Get You 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.

Key Worker Scheme

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