Commuter towns around London see significant property price reductions

Commuter towns near London, more than anywhere else in the UK, are seeing a growing number of properties reduced in price, led by Reading, according to new research.

Overall some 33.5% of properties for sale in major cities and towns have been reduced in prices since they were first put on the market and one in seven have 40% or more that have had their price dropped.

The research from online estate agents HouseSimple looked at the percentage of properties dropped in price by estate agents since they were first advertised, and compared the percentage in February 2017 with August 2017.

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 and in Reading 44% of properties currently for sale in the Berkshire town have been reduced in price since they were first advertised.

That compares to 22.8% of properties on the market in February 2017 that had a price reduction. The percentage of price cut properties has almost doubled in six months, more than anywhere else in the country.

In Basingstoke, 50 minutes by train into Waterloo, some 35.6% of properties currently for sale have been reduced in price since they were first marketed. That compares to 19.1% when the research was conducted back in February 2017, an increase of 16.5%.

The analysis reveals a clear North South divide in terms of towns and cities where there is a growing percentage of price reductions by agents, with 11 out of 20 of the biggest increases in the south or south east. While 14 out of 20 of the towns or cities where the percentage of price reductions has actually fallen when comparing August to February, are in the north or Scotland.

Looking at August 2017 figures specifically 33.5% currently for sale in over 100 of the UK’s major towns and cities have had a price reduction since estate agents first marketed them. In central London, 35% of properties have been dropped in price.

Across the country, 18 of the towns or cities analysed by HouseSimple, have 40% or more of properties currently for sale reduced in price. This compares to just eight towns or cities in February. In Darlington some 47% currently being marketed have been dropped in price to secure a sale while in Wigan it is 45.5%.

This compares with Salford and Edinburgh, where just 11.3% and 11.7% of properties have been cut in price. Both areas have seen the percentage of properties reduced in price fall in August 2017 compared to February 2017.

‘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,’ said Alex Gosling, chief executive officer of HouseSimple.

‘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,’ he pointed out.

‘For anyone selling a property, have the lowest price you’re willing to take in the back of your mind, and be prepared to negotiate if a strong buyer, someone with finance in place who can move quickly to exchange, makes an offer. Sometimes holding out for an offer that might be a few thousand pounds more, could result in your property sitting on the market for months,’ he concluded.