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London commuter towns see the biggest rise in estate agents prices cutting properties

London commuter towns – more than anywhere else in the UK - are seeing a growing number of properties reduced in price, according to research by online estate agents HouseSimple.com. Reading is the property price cutting capital of the UK, with the percentage of properties currently for sale, which have been cut in price, almost double the level six months ago.

HouseSimple research 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 ten towns or cities with the largest percentage growth in price- reduced properties, comparing February and August, are all within an hour of central London by train.

Reading has a commuting time of 30 minutes and property prices have risen more than 30% over the past five years. But HouseSimple research found that 44.0% 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, 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/cities where there is a growing percentage of price reductions by agents, with 11 out of 20 of the biggest increases - comparing August to February 2017 - 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.

The following table shows the 20 major UK towns and cities ranked in order of the biggest increase in percentage of properties currently being advertised that have been reduced in price, compared to February 2017:

Town/City

Region

Listings – Feb 17   

% of listings reduced in price – Feb 17 (A)

Listings – Aug 17   

% of listings reduced in price – Aug 17 (B)

% Increase between (B) and (A)

Reading

South East

377

22.8%

562

44.0%

21.2%

Basingstoke

South

324

19.1%

494

35.6%

16.5%

Basildon

East

420

26.7%

517

41.0%

14.3%

Chelmsford

East

229

21.4%

346

34.4%

13.0%

Woking

South East

307

31.6%

435

43.2%

11.6%

Winchester

South

90

25.6%

154

36.4%

10.8%

High Wycombe

South East

390

22.8%

462

33.6%

10.8%

Watford

East

405

31.4%

545

42.0%

10.6%

Luton

South East

500

21.4%

744

31.9%

10.5%

Northampton

 East  Mid

644

23.9%

761

33.8%

9.9%

Portsmouth

South

399

27.0%

502

36.8%

9.8%

Brighton

South East

578

32.5%

777

42.2%

9.7%

Chester

North West

366

25.1%

417

34.3%

9.2%

Shrewsbury

West Mid

112

29.5%

112

38.4%

8.9%

Hereford

West Mid

160

26.9%

174

35.1%

8.2%

Slough

South East

507

23.6%

794

31.7%

8.1%

Cambridge

East

266

20.0%

311

28.0%

8.0%

Wigan

North West

494

37.5%

497

45.5%

8.0%

Salisbury

South West

102

30.4%

112

38.3%

7.9%

Maidstone

South East

426

32.2%

460

40.0%

7.8%

August 2017

Looking at August 2017 figures in isolation, more than a third of properties (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, more than a third (35.0%) of properties have been dropped in price.

Across the country, 18 of the towns or cities analysed by HouseSimple, are members of the 40% club – where 40% or more of properties currently for sale have been reduced in price. This compares to just eight towns or cities back in February. In Darlington, almost half the properties (47.0%) currently being marketed have been dropped in price to secure a sale. In Wigan, 45.5% of properties have had a price reduction.

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.

London, Manchester and Birmingham

Of the three largest cities in the UK, London (35.0%) has the highest percentage of price reductions on current stock. This compares with 27.5% in Birmingham and only 16.6% in Manchester. This suggests that estate agents in the capital are finding it hard to secure a sale, due to inflated prices, and sellers are having to drop asking prices to attract buyers.

The South West

Bristol

Properties price reduced in February 2017 – 26.7%, properties price reduced currently – 30.8%. We have also seen an increase when comparing August with February of 4.1% , so almost a third of properties in Bristol currently for sale have been price cut by estate agents since they were first listed.

Exeter

Properties price reduced in February 2017 – 23.9%, properties price reduced currently – 30.2%. There is also an increase when comparing August with February of 6.3%. 

Gloucester

Properties price reduced in February 2017 – 27.1%, properties price reduced currently –33.1%, with an increase comparing August with February of 6.0%. 

Bath

Properties price reduced in February 2017 – 28.8%, properties price reduced currently – 29.9% and an increase comparing August with February of 1.1%. 

Alex Gosling, CEO of online estate agents HouseSimple.com comments: “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.

“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.

“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.”

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