In the predictably unpleasant battle of words that ensued in the Rochester and Strood by-election, property stood out for a while as one of the weapons of choice.
Charles Walker, MP for Broxbourne, told Rochester folk this week that a UKIP win would ‘lead to house prices dropping’. The reason, apparently, being that a town popular with UKIP voters equates to a place where lots of Eastern European immigrants reside and therefore presents a less desirable location. The comments of course will be seen as offensive by many I’m sure, and seem to have no basis in fact (I’m not aware that Mr Walker is a chartered surveyor or an estate agent albeit that he may be disliked more, being a politician and all…).
Interestingly, a recent Harvard research paper concluded that UK towns with above average levels of Polish, Slovak, Estonian and Lithuanian residents actually saw crime REDUCE.
The average Rochester home is today worth £184,669 according to HM Land Registry, a little less than the typical UK property. Values have increased by 19% since the 2010 General Election.
The emoov Hot Spot index currently places it above the national average for overall buyer demand vs supply at a ratio of 43% locally against 35% nationally. This is the one to watch. Will homeowners leave and buyers abandon the area as a place to live now? We doubt it.
Notwithstanding truth and reality (again, not words that are usually seem in the same sentence as an MP’s name) our research geeks are eager to see if last night’s UKIP win will now lead to a comparable reduction in local house prices versus other areas as the Hon Member for Broxbourne predicts.
We’ll keep you posted…
Russell Quirk is Founder and CEO of emoov