Buyers cashing in and leaving London for more spacious and affordable homes have been causing a mini boom in newly popular areas of the home counties, according to latest data from the Land Registry.
Further research by Hamptons International finds that a record 44,000 Londoners bought homes outside the capital in the last year, spending an average £330,000. This is the biggest exodus since the boom years leading up to the last market peak in 2007, and reflects the huge value gap between London and the rest of the UK.
Sales in the relatively inexpensive counties of West Sussex and Medway are outstripping more expensive rivals like Surrey and Buckinghamshire, according to the Land Registry.
The big winner in the registry’s survey is West Sussex, where house prices rose by more than eight per cent in the year to April, the latest figures available, to an average £225,340.
KEEP TRACK IN A RISING MARKET: THE 12 HOME COUNTIES WITH THE BIGGEST ANNUAL HOUSE PRICE GROWTH
1/12 West Sussex
Average property price: £225,340
Average price rise since last year: 8.2%
£227,500: a bijou grade II-listed cottage.
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Average property price: £146,984
Average price rise since last year: 7.8%
£149,995: this semi-detached bungalow has room to extend.
> Average property prices across Medway
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3/12 Windsor & Maidenhead
Average property price: £366,333
Average price rise since last year: 7.2%
£365,000: a well-presented family home.
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Average property price: £261,763
Average price rise since last year: 7.6%
£250,000: this semi-detached Victorian cottage is truly charming.
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Average property price: £192,552
Average price rise since last year: 7.1%
£199,995: this period cottage has a central village location
> Average property prices across Kent
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Average property price: £260,286
Average price rise since last year: 6.7%
£260,000: a four-bedroom new-build home.
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Average property price: £328,328
Average price rise since last year: 6.5%
£325,000: this three-bedroom house is ideally located for the station.
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Average property price: £220,518
Average price rise since last year: 6.2%
£220,000: a two double-bedroom home in a sought after location.
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Average property price: £198,938
Average price rise since last year: 5.8%
£200,000: a two-bedroom house on a spacious corner plot.
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10/12 Central Bedfordshire
Average property price: £181,815
Average price rise since last year: 5.5%
£174,950: help-to-buy is available on these new build homes.
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Average property price: £275,919
Average price rise since last year: 5.4%
£275,000: a two-bedroom maisonette with a private garden.
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12/12 East Sussex
Average property price: £184,872
Average price rise since last year: 4.7%
£190,000: a charming Victorian house in need of TLC.
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Peter Maskell, managing director of Brock Taylor estate agents in Horsham, says he has seen a notable increase in exiles from both south London and Surrey arriving in the historic West Sussex market town in search of better-value homes.
“I always say that we are a bit of an ‘Aldi Guildford’,” he says. “What we offer is a very nice standard of living, the countryside is five minutes outside the town, the schools are excellent, and you can be in London in an hour and Brighton in 45 minutes. Londoners are selling a two-bedroom flat for £750,000 and buying themselves a nice detached family house.”
Whether as a result of this influx or of natural regeneration, Maskell notes the town centre is improving rapidly, and better shops and a growing café culture are attracting more buyers.
Outside space: a bigger garden and home is often a reason to move out of London (property details as above)
Another strong performer is Medway, the unitary authority at the northern tip of Kent, which has seen prices rise by almost eight per cent in the same period to an average £146,984. This compares well to more expensive Kent, where prices rose by 7.1 per cent to an average £192,552.
The Medway towns include Strood, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, and Rainham, and Oliver Atkinson, director at urbansalesandlettings.co.uk says their strength is their relative value for money. “Medway towns are becoming increasingly popular,” he says. “Historically they have offered cheaper properties and still do not carry the premium of other areas of Kent such as Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells.
“As people are increasingly priced out of these areas, young couples and commuters are trying the Medway — with money in their pockets.”
London prices went up 17 per cent in the last year, and 4.2 per cent in April — the latest available monthly figure — to an average £435,034. Marc Goldberg, head of sales at Hamptons International, said: “The outward migration trend seems set to continue in the months to come.
“The number of buyers registering with our offices outside of the capital is up by 16 per cent year on year, while buyer numbers in London are relatively static.”