Our latest research shows that the Home Counties are continuing to outperform London where price growth is concerned, with the average house price up +1.69% in 2017 so far and +5.71% annually.
A slowing London market continues to lose momentum against the more affordable commuter zones surrounding it, with prices only increasing by +0.84% since the beginning of 2017 and +2.96% since the same time last year.
Prices across the capital now average £481,345 today, making it continually harder for buyers to get on the ladder and more feasible to look to the commuter belt to invest in a home, fuelling higher price growth than the capital itself.
The improvement of transport infrastructure is helping to fuel this by bringing the surrounding counties closer to London, creating new commuter hubs and opportunities for them to support the regional economy. As a result, the traditional definition of the home counties has shifted and now many consider those slightly further afield, such as Bedfordshire, Oxfordshire and Hampshire to be part of the home counties.
So Far This Year
It is in fact, one of these newer additions that has seen the greatest benefit in house price growth so far this year. Since the start of 2017, Bedfordshire has seen an impressive +3.69% increase, from £262,860 to £272,558, followed by Buckinghamshire (+2.87%), growing from £394,551 to £405,865. Essex places third with a +2.54% jump since January.
The same three counties also take up the top three spaces for largest property growth in the past year. Essex saw the best growth rate of +9.89% annually, seeing property prices jump from £275,625 to £302,881. It is closely followed by Bedfordshire with +9.41% growth and finally Buckinghamshire property prices which have increased by +6.98% year on year.
The Most Affordable
East Sussex is home to the lowest average house price across all the home counties at £264,276.
Although Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire have enjoyed similar growth patterns over the past year, Bedfordshire has an average property price more than £100,000 less than Buckinghamshire (£262,86), making it the second most affordable of the home counties.
It’s followed by Kent (£279,529), Essex (£302,881) and Hampshire (£307,014).
Even when you factor in the cost of an annual season ticket to commute into the capital by train, homebuyers are still saving hundreds of thousands of pounds by living outside of London.
With London’s prices still out of reach for the average person, a short jaunt to the home counties offers a compromise to continue making a London wage but without paying the price of the capital’s property market.
Often living outside of the city also translates to getting more bang for your buck, such as a garden, a car parking spot and more living space in the home.
The rise in popularity of Bedfordshire demonstrates the continual overspill effect of the UK housing market as a whole. In London, when one borough becomes too expensive, the next best but less desirable borough is the next port of call, until that too becomes regenerated and over inflated.
We’re seeing a similar process in the home counties generally whereby all are proving popular by London standards, but those that have seen stronger price growth already are now taking a back seat, whilst newer more affordable options, like Bedfordshire and Hampshire, emerge as the front runners.
With the approaching launch of Crossrail and the proposed HS2 route, who knows how far the London commuter zone will soon stretch.Russell Quirk