Southern rail strikes trigger house price slump:Lewes, Pulborough and Preston Park are some of the worst-affected areas as home buyers blacklist key parts of the route

Fed-up commuters are avoiding buying in areas that rely on Britain's most unreliable train service, and this is now negatively impacting house prices.

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Ten months of strike action on Southern rail is being blamed for a slump in property prices along the worst-affected routes as buyers blacklist key areas.

According to Network Rail and the regulator, the Office of Rail and Road, almost a third of Southern’s mainline and coast services arrived late in the last year, making it the most unreliable train service in Britain.

Property prices across England increased 7.6 per cent in the last year, but homes in the Southern rail catchment area saw more muted growth of  6.5 per cent. 

In the last six months the divide appears to have widened. Prices increased an average of three per cent across England, compared to 1.4 per cent in areas served by Southern.

Buying agent Jamie Freeman, of Haringtons, covering their southern area, says buyers are running scared of Southern train services, despite ongoing talks to end the dispute over plans to introduce driver-only trains. 

“We’ve just agreed a house at a little over £2 million for a client who initially wanted a family home in Haywards Heath but changed his search location at the last minute to Petersfield, covered by South West Trains,” says Freeman. “The continued strikes were a deciding factor in his change of heart as both he and his wife work five days a week and need reliable commuter links.”

According to estate agents HouseSimple, the best-performing areas along the three main Southern rail routes over the last three months have been Hove, Seaford and Bishopstone, in East Sussex, and Shoreham-by-Sea, in West Sussex. All four of these top performers are close to Brighton, so they are less reliant on commuters than are locations closer to the capital. Even so, these areas are seeing below-average price inflation compared to the UK as a whole.

“House price growth along Southern rail routes has crawled along over the past three months,” confirms Alex Gosling, chief executive of HouseSimple. “It is likely that the ongoing Southern rail dispute is playing a major role in this slowdown.”

According to online estate agent emoov, homes in areas served by Southern are selling at a slower rate than those in the rest of the country. 

Dave Norris, sales director at Woodlands estate agents in Redhill, Surrey, which is served by Southern, says although more than half of his buyers are commuters, the town’s market is holding up because of strong local employment, including at Gatwick airport and companies such as insurance giant AXA in or near the town. 

Of course, for every loser there is a winner. HouseSimple’s Alex Gosling believes the rail dispute could be a buying opportunity for house hunters who don’t commute to negotiate hard for a good price.

Property prices along the Brighton Mainline route

Key: A = Change in property price over past 12 months; B = % change in price in past 12 months; C = Change in property price over past 3 months; D = % change in price in past 3 months

Town/City A B C D
East Croydon £19,291 5.43% £2,956 0.80%
Gatwick Airport £7,432 4.51% £1,438 0.84%
Three Bridges £18,240 5.47% £2,851 0.82%
Balcombe £51,262 8.42% £5,799 0.89%
Haywards Heath £36,859 8.42% £4,169 0.89%
Wivelsfield £57,284 8.42% £6,479 0.89%
Burgess Hill £20,119 5.79% £2,499 0.68%
Hassocks -£6,636 -1.26% £5,159 1.00%
Preston Park £18,779 1.60% £7,470 0.63%
Brighton £27,495 7.62% £4,148 1.08%

Property prices along the Mainline West route

Key: A = Change in property price over past 12 months; B = % change in price in past 12 months; C = Change in property price over past 3 months; D = % change in price in past 3 months

Town/City A B C D
Redhill £16,202 4.12% £2,727 0.67%
Hove £31,928 7.77% £6,050 1.39%
Portslade £21,714 7.62% £3,276 1.08%
Shoreham-by-Sea £26,985 7.86% £4,937 1.35%
Lancing £18,166 6.98% £3,266 1.19%
Worthing £23,350 7.80% £1,985 0.62%
West Worthing £23,350 7.80% £1,985 0.62%
Durrington-on-Sea £8,318 3.40% £1,675 0.67%
Goring-by-Sea £25,734 8.01% £2,796 0.81%
Angmering £24,208 6.43% £4,822 1.22%
Crawley £11,757 3.78% £2,168 0.68%
Horsham £10,820 2.50% £3,097 0.70%
Christ’s Hospital £12,282 2.50% £3,517 0.70%
Billingshurst £30,467 6.29% £6,327 1.25%
Pulborough £15,543 3.02% £2,621 0.50%
Amberley £27,279 4.08% £5,246 0.76%
Arundel £17,226 4.08% £3,313 0.76%
Littlehampton £19,423 6.43% £3,870 1.22%
Ford £9,560 4.08% £1,839 0.76%
Barnham £9,924 3.13% £2,471 0.76%
Bognor Regis £8,305 2.92% £1,618 0.56%

NB. Only looked at stations within 1hr 40 mins from London and didn’t include stations that are on the Brighton Mainline route

Property prices along the Mainline East route

Key: A = Change in property price over past 12 months; B = % change in price in past 12 months; C = Change in property price over past 3 months; D = % change in price in past 3 months

Town/City A B C D
Plumpton £70,220 8.23% £3,999 0.43%
Cooksbridge £44,375 8.23% £2,527 0.43%
Lewes £38,768 8.23% £2,208 0.43%
Southease £62,319 8.23% £3,549 0.43%
Newhaven Town £10,527 2.79% £3,463 0.90%
Bishopstone £37,983 12.01% £4,686 1.34%
Seaford £36,707 12.01% £4,529 1.34%
Polegate £39,705 13.85% £3,664 1.14%
Hampden Park £13,201 5.75% £2,191 0.91%
Eastbourne £16,491 6.21% £3,062 1.10%

NB. Only looked at stations within 1hr 40 mins from London and didn’t include stations that are on the Brighton Mainline or Mainline West route

 

 


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