Demand in these areas has risen as substantial property price rises in central London over the last few years have caused increasing numbers of people to seek property in more affordable areasMartin Ellis, Halifax Nadiya Hussain, Luton’s most famous daughter Credit:BBC supplied by pixel 8000 ltd The nearby market town of Dunstable also saw some of the biggest increases in the UK last year, up by almost 18 per cent in the 12 months to November 2016.Despite predictions in some quarters of a sharp correction in prices or a Brexit effect, areas within relatively easy commuting reach of London dominate the top 10 property price hotspots of the last year.Areas around the capital – from Chatham in Kent and Basildon, Essex, in the east, to Slough, Berks, and Watford, Herts, to the west – all saw major gains. Notably, nowhere in Sussex, the area most reliant on Southern Railway services, featured in the top 10 hotspots. When Lorraine Chase was asked in the 1970s Campari advertisement if she had “wafted here from paradise”, her blunt response “Nah, Luton Airport” came to immortalise the Bedfordshire town.But Luton, it appears, is having the last laugh after it emerged as the most desirable address in the UK – at least if property prices are a guide.Average house prices in the town surged by almost a fifth in the last year alone, the biggest proportional increase in the country, according to data collected by the Halifax. Earlier, separate figures from Nationwide Building Society put average growth across the country this month at 4.5 per cent, equalling the rate recorded a year ago. By contrast Aberdeen’s spiral from boom town to bust, reflecting the sharp drop in oil prices, is underlined in the figures.The Granite City was by far the worst performing place to invest in property in the UK in 2016, with average prices down almost seven per cent.By contrast, the second worst performer in the UK – Bangor in Co Down, Northern Ireland – saw average prices lose a more modest 1.7 per cent.The average house price in Luton now stands at £256,636, having gained £41.702 in a year.Prices in the town surged at more than double the 7.5 per cent annual price growth seen across the UK generally over the year. Barking and Dagenham, in east London, was ranked second in the list of hotspots, with property values jumping 18.6 per cent to an average of £296,946 and prices in Dunstable leapt by 17.9 per cent to stand at £253,799.Meanwhile an average house in Aberdeen lost just over £15,000 to sell for £203,425.Martin Ellis, a housing economist at Halifax, said: “Most of the areas that have seen the biggest house price rises during 2016 are either within close commuting distance of the capital or in outer London.“Demand in these areas has risen as substantial property price rises in central London over the last few years have caused increasing numbers of people to seek property in more affordable areas.“A few towns have experienced price falls, with the biggest in Aberdeen. On the north east coast of Scotland, it is highly dependent on the North Sea oil and gas sector.“The substantial fall in oil prices in the past couple of years has hit the industry hard with adverse impact on demand for homes in the area. Price declines elsewhere have been modest.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.