ResidentialAug 25 2017

London commuter belt faces most property price cuts

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London commuter belt faces most property price cuts
BySimon Allin

London commuter towns have seen the biggest rise in the number of properties having their prices cut by estate agents, figures show.

The top 10 towns or cities with the largest percentage growth in price-reduced properties are all within an hour of central London by train, according to a comparison between August and February 2017 by online estate agents HouseSimple.

Reading tops the table, with 44 per cent of properties for sale in August having had price reductions – up from 22.8 per cent in February.

Meanwhile Basingstoke, which is 50 minutes away from London by train, saw a 16.5 percentage point rise in the proportion of properties having their prices cut.

Basildon, Chelmsford and Woking also witnessed increases of 11 percentage points or more.

In contrast 14 out of 20 of the towns or cities with proportionally fewer price reductions in August than February were in the north and Scotland.

Across the UK, more than a third of the properties (33.5 per cent) on the market in August had had a price cut since estate agents started marketing them.

Alex Gosling, chief executive of HouseSimple, said: “The London commuter belt has seen a property price boom over the past decade, as Londoners priced out of the capital’s property market have moved further out to take advantage of cheaper stock and excellent local amenities including highly rated state schools.

“As a result, the gap between property prices in many of the commuter towns and prices in central London has narrowed. Anyone looking in some of the most popular commuter towns, 30 minutes from London, may now find that properties aren’t any more affordable.

"That is putting pressure on local property markets, as buyers may be starting to look further afield for value for money.”

Adrian Kidd, IFA at London-based Radcliffe and Newlands, said the reductions were only likely to have been made at the top end of the price range – and even then the falls could have been quite small.

“It also the quietest part of the year,” he pointed out. “Most people are away. I think the market gets going when everyone is back in September.

“Nothing has changed in mortgage pricing, and if anything rates have come down in the past six to eight weeks. There are lots of people willing to buy but just not that much stuff out there. If it is a little bit softer, I am not seeing any alarm bells ringing.”