London News & Search
Asking prices for homes in commuter towns are being slashed amid a surge in the number of properties for sale, according to research.
It follows years of booming property values in “dormitory towns” such as Reading, Basingstoke, Woking and Winchester.
Londoners who moved to commuter towns to escape sky-high prices in the capital now face a struggle to sell.
Property experts said the boom in prices in the commuter belt over recent years — closing the gap on London —combined with the ever-rising cost of rail season tickets had forced more sellers to cut prices.
Analysts looked at the proportion of homes on the market that had their prices reduced in February and this month in 100 towns and cities.
The biggest increase was in the Berkshire town of Reading — 26 minutes from Paddington. Here, the percentage of homes with price cuts almost doubled from 22.8 per cent to 44 per cent. In the past five years, prices in the M4 corridor town have risen by more than 30 per cent to an average £303,000.
Next came Basingstoke, 50 minutes from Waterloo, with a rise in the proportion of homes seeing a price cut from 19.1 per cent to 35.6. This was followed by Basildon, where the figure surged from 26.7 per cent to 41 per cent.
Across the nation as a whole, just over a third of properties on the market have already seen price cuts in a bid to tempt buyers — the total stands at 35 per cent in London.
Nine of the top 10 biggest areas for discounting are in the South-East, according to the data from Zoopla analysed by HouseSimple.com.
Alex Gosling, chief executive of HouseSimple.com said: “The commuter belt has seen a property price boom over the past decade, as Londoners priced out of the capital 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 prices in many commuter towns and prices in central London has narrowed. Anyone looking in some of the most popular commuter towns may now find that properties aren’t affordable. That is putting pressure on local markets, as buyers may be starting to look further afield for value for money.”
Prices of season tickets are set to rise a further 3.6 per cent in January, adding hundreds of pounds to the cost of travelling to work in the capital. An annual pass from Reading to London is set to go up by £156 from £4,308 to £4,464.
Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, said the Southern rail fiasco had made people more cautious of relying on train travel.
He added that the sharp slowdown in the London market meant less housing equity was being exported to the commuter belt.
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