House prices have shot up by almost 30 per cent in Merton this year. The south-west London borough, home to Wimbledon and Mitcham, has seen the biggest growth across the capital in the course of the last 12 months, with prices there now averaging £670,771 – among the city’s highest.

However, the second fastest-growing London borough, Newham, is one of the cheapest. The “Olympic borough”  has consistently topped monthly  growth charts during the year, and overall, average house prices soared 25 per cent to £396,012, according to Rightmove’s latest House Price Index.

Newham’s growth is largely thanks to new developments at Stratford, but Forest Gate is due to become a high-speed train hotspot with the advent of Crossrail in 2018, which has also helped to boost growth.

“This is December’s best price performance in the capital since 2008,” says Rightmove director and housing market analyst Miles Shipside.  “The most buoyant sector in London overall is the one made up of first-time buyer-type properties (two bedrooms or fewer), up by 11 per cent annually.”

Barking and Dagenham borough in the east continues to be a firm favourite with first-time buyers thanks to good-value homes and thousands of new-build flats. It is the only borough where average house prices are below £300,000, but this doesn’t look set to last for long, as it is London’s sixth fastest-growing borough, with average prices rising by 18.6 per cent in a year to £280,128.

This is an area to watch, thanks to the planned extension of the London Overground which will link the massive Barking Riverside regeneration project to the Gospel Oak to Barking line.

A key London house-building project, more than 10,000 homes will be built at Barking Riverside over the next couple of decades along with new schools, shops, offices and health centres, on a former power station site beside the River Thames.

Another borough to watch is Waltham Forest, also in east London and home to Leyton, Chingford and Walthamstow. With annual prices rises of 16.5 per cent to £431, 917,  it currently sits in seventh position thanks to a surge in demand from buyers priced out of more central locations.