|Homes sold in the last 12 months||356||1033||294||890|
|Average house prices||£104,681||£195,983||£293,650||£157,066|
Located right on the edge of the Chilterns, just 30 miles to the north of London, the thriving town of Luton is home to one of the UK's most vibrant and culturally diverse communities.
Famous for years for hat-making, the town is home to London Luton, one of England's major airports, while the University of Bedfordshire is also based here. Every May, the town hosts Europe's largest one day carnival.
Property in Luton is mostly owner-occupied, although there is also a large proportion of socially rented accommodation. Around a fifth of properties are flats, with housing overwhelmingly made up of terraces and semis rather than detached homes.
Motorway and rail links provide excellent, frequent connections with London King Cross in just 20 minutes, while Luton is also served by buses run by Arriva, and an extensive taxi network.
The town is also home to Luton Sixth Form and Barnfield colleges, both of which received learning and skills beacon status. The borough has 70 primary and 13 secondary schools, and received heavy investment under the Building Schools for the Future scheme.
Luton also offers a comprehensive range of first-class leisure amenities, from arts and sports venues to children's activities and libraries. The £26m Luton Aquatics Centre, whose construction began in October 2010, is bringing a huge boost to the town with its modern fitness and swimming facilities.
With plenty of parks and open spaces on the edge of town, there is also easy access to the dramatic scenery of the Chilterns. If golf is your thing, Luton has one of the region's finest public courses.
Culture vultures will love the 238-seater Library Theatre, located - as the name suggests - in the town's Central Library. The programme includes panto, children's theatre and touring shows as well as amateur productions.
Another arts venue is the Hat Factory, opened in 2003 to provide contemporary theatre, dance, films and live music.
There are restaurants here to cater for all tastes, too, especially in the Bury Park area of town. The Mall in Luton is Bedfordshire's top shopping centre. Located in the heart of town, it is packed with popular High Street names and a selection of unique independent stores.
Wardown Park, on the outskirts of Luton, houses a museum in a large Victorian mansion, with its collection focusing on the area's traditional crafts and industries, including hat and lace making.
Another attraction is the rural craft and trade items at Stockwood Park Museum, gathered from Bedfordshire and neighbouring counties, giving the collection a strong regional identity.
With a friendly, cosmopolitan feel, affordable housing and outstanding travel connections to London, the rest of the UK and Europe, it's no wonder residents are describing Luton as a town on the up.
Source acknowledgement: House price data produced by Land Registry
This material was last updated on 29 January 2015. It covers the period from 03 January 1995 to 31 December 2014.
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