The bigger the house the bigger profits you stand to gain as property prices rise. That's just how it goes, isn't it?

Well not necessarily, according to new research.

Latest figures from Halifax suggest that flats are outperforming all other property types, rising by £1,029 a month since the financial crash in 2008.

The average price of a flat in the UK has risen by £86,474 since property prices were at their lowest in late 2008 – from £150,749 in the final quarter of that year to £237,223 at the end of 2015.

The 57% increase in the average price of a flat is significantly higher than the 37% rise for all residential properties over the same period.

It means that, on average, buyers are paying £17,978 more for a flat than for a semi-detached house, with only detached properties and bungalows commanding a higher price.

Detached homes recorded the smallest rise (20%) over the past seven years, while terraced and semi-detached houses saw price rises of 38% and 34% respectively since 2008.

A large proportion (62%) of the national rise in flat values is due to the increase in flat prices in London.

In the capital, flats represent a larger share of the property market than elsewhere in the country, making up half of the property sales, compared to the UK average of 17%.

The high prices being paid for London flats have had a significant impact on the national picture

Martin Ellis, housing economist, Halifax
An atom of type quote lives here

If London is excluded, terraced homes boasted the greatest price growth (31%), followed by semi-detached homes (29%), with flats at 26% and detached homes at 19%. 

Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: “The high prices being paid for London flats have had a significant impact on the national picture when it comes to property type winners and losers.

“This is the result of more flats being sold in the capital and at the higher end of the market.

“Such is their popularity that flats continued to outperform other property types in the capital last year, with an annual price growth of 17% by the end of 2015.” 

First-time buyers are increasingly bypassing flats in favour of semi-detached homes. Image by
According to the figures from Halifax, terraced homes and semis are still the most popular types of property bought as in 2008, at 30% and 29% respectively.

But the increase in the share of semi-detached homes, which was 25% in 2008, has come at the cost of the proportion accounted for by flats, which dropped from 22% to 17%.

The shift is noticeable when it comes to first-time buyers, who are bypassing flats in favour of semi-detached homes.

Semis accounted for 29% of purchases in 2015 compared with 23% in 2008, while flat sales for first-time buyers fell from 32% of all property sales to 23% over the same period.

Mr Ellis added: "Semi-detached and terraced homes have remained the most popular property types amongst purchasers, and increasingly so for first-time buyers.

“Whilst many might expect a flat to be the most typical first step on the housing ladder, it is clear that this is shifting with more and more first-time buyers bypassing this option, choosing a semi-detached house instead."

According to Halifax, a typical flat costs less than £120,000 in the North, Wales and Yorkshire and the Humber, rising to £120,000-£145,000 in the North West, West Midlands, East Midlands and Scotland.

While flat prices are less than any other property type in London, with an average of £385,269 they remain higher than flat prices anywhere else in the UK.