Has Southern Rail dispute hit house prices?

Has Southern Rail dispute hit house prices?

The latest data from the UK Land Registry on house prices across the country has been released, showing an annual price increase of 6.7%, making the average UK property price £217,928. However, some experts suggest that the ongoing Southern Rail dispute is already impacting on house prices.

The data, which covers November 2016, shows an annual price increase of 7.2% across England, while Wales saw a more modest increase of 4.1%. London property continued to perform above the national average with a rise of 8.1%.

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The regional data indicates that:

  • the East of England experienced the greatest increase in its average property price over the last 12 months with a movement of 10.5%
  • the West Midlands experienced the greatest monthly price growth with an increase of 2.2%
  • the North East saw the lowest annual price growth with an increase of 3.2%
  • the South East saw the most significant monthly price fall with a movement of 0.3%

Alex Gosling, CEO, online estate agents HouseSimple.com, suggests the South East is feeling the effects of the chaos surrounding Southern Rail:

“At a regional level, while the East of England appears to be enjoying a mini property boom, the South East is feeling the pain of the ongoing Southern Rail dispute.

“While the dispute rumbles on, prospective buyers will be reluctant to commit to a purchase, and with no clear resolution in sight, the strike action is inevitably starting to hurt prices in that area of the country.”

He goes on to suggest the property market is proving surprisingly resilient to the series of economic and political shocks that 2016 delivered.

“November was a strong month for property prices, which goes against all the predictions that prices would stutter in the months following the EU vote. In fact, the market has proved extremely resilient to shock economic news, so it will be interesting to see how it reacts over the coming weeks after Theresa May lays out her plans for a hard Brexit. In the end, life goes on, and people still need to move. There are plenty of buyers out there looking to purchase, and not enough properties to go around. That should help support prices, and in the short term it’s unlikely that confidence will be dented by the PM’s Brexit announcement as it won’t come as a surprise to many. That said, the first quarter of 2017 will be a crucial period for property prices and we need to see buyers making offers not waiting for Article 50 to be triggered before purchasing. The last thing we need right now are transaction numbers to dry up.”


Another expert suggests the dampening of house prices rises in the South East is due to a jump in property supply.

Home.co.uk. Director, Doug Shephard, says 2017 looks set to be a year of mixed fortunes for the England and Wales property market. “Rapidly rising supply in these regions confirms that the cycle is complete and the ‘fat lady has sung’. So, 2017 will be a year wherein London and the Home Counties are subdued while the Midlands add to the growth they have enjoyed over the course of 2016. The Midlands show considerable vitality, as evidenced by their improved marketing times, and will continue to prosper this year.”

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