Southend has seen the biggest rise in house prices among the country's major towns and cities over the past year.
According to the Halifax the average selling price in the seaside resort was 14.8% higher than the previous year, rising to £198,418 by the end of 2012, compared with an improvement of 2.1% on average across the whole of Essex.
Basingstoke in Hampshire experienced the second biggest rise in house prices with a 14.7% gain, while three more towns within commuting distance of London - Rochester, St Albans and Dartford - make up the top five.
More top news
Friday afternoon's forecast for the east of the region
Friday afternoon's forecast for the west of the region
Two men have been jailed for more than four years each after attempting to smuggle 18 Albanian immigrants into the UK.