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The east-west split driving house prices in Kent - we take a look at where's hot and where's not


12-27-2016

The east-west split driving house prices in Kent - we take a look at where's hot and where's not
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How much will your house be worth in 2017?

The market is also split along east-west lines with estate agents forecasting strong growth around the Margate and Ramsgate areas and steadier increases in high value hotspots, Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks.

Margate

Margate once overshadowed by nearby Broadstairs - is now the shining star of a booming east coast housing revival.

Last year Margate broke the estate agency record books with house prices soaring 22 per cent, according to Rightmove. Only London performed better. And this year estate agency director Paul McGuirk of Parkland Estates says prices have continued to along the same trajectory.

The once-faded coastal resort is now a magnet for artists leaving London attracted by the town's relatively cheap property prices and large Victorian villas. The Turner Contemporary gallery has spearheaded the change with developers, second home owners and landlords following on the artists' heels.

"We have seen a large number of people relocating here," said Mr McGuirk.

"We have found a large number of double income arty types moving in and bringing with them their large income which has had a knock on effect."

This three bed property on the market with Rightmove is priced at 289,950.

The price rises have drawn in others looking to invest in property with the location promising both a high rental income and big return should they choose to sell at a later date. It has seen the Turner affect spreading out from the immediate vicinity of the gallery to a mile beyond the Old Town with the average price in the town, according the Rightmove, now 199,000.

Flats form the majority of sales and in January Mr McGuirk said he was selling a one bedroom apartment in Margate for around 60,000 to 70,000. The same property would now go for between 95,000 and 100,000.

Managing director of the National Association of Estate Agents, Mark Hayward said Margate's transformation has also been felt in Ramsgate.

"Historically those areas which were seen as depressed are now coming up and perceived as offering good value," he said.

"People see good price growth there. But in other areas with traditionally high prices - I think that end of the market is going to cool a bit."

Tunbridge Wells

By this, Mr Hayward means the traditional house-hunting hotspots of west Kent where good links to London continue to drive prices. In Tunbridge Wells Land Registry figures to October revealed the average home fetched nearly 375,000 and prices have risen by 11.53 per cent, just shy of the Kent average.

Despite this the figure is still ahead of the national increase of 7.7 per cent. But the surge is likely to stabilise in the year to come, experts believe, not least because the higher end of the market is flattening curtailed by an increase in stamp duty.

It is an effect particularly acute in Tunbridge Wells where estate agent, Matthew Peacock said people buying " buy to let" within the town were rushing to complete sales before a three per cent increase in duty on second homes came into being on April 1. After April the situation changed and the market was dominated by uncertainly fueled not least by the Brexit vote.

Three bedroom detached home in Southborough being sold by Rightmove for 750,000

"We lost four transactions on the day of the Brexit vote but they were all agreed again four or five days later when things had calmed down," he said.

"Then we had the reduction in interest rates from 0.5 to 0.25 per cent which helped."

But Mr Peacock thinks the market has an uncertain future in the short term.

"Next year will depend very much on interest rates. If they start to go up - even if it is by a quarter of a per cent that will bring down any rise to property prices dampening buyer's enthusiasm."

Sevenoaks

Without a crystal ball estate agents say it is difficult to predict just what will happen to sales but one thing about which they confident the market will remain robust, particularly in areas with fast connections to London like Tunbridge Wells and neighbouring Sevenoaks.

Here the average price of a home is now almost 415,000. Prices rose by nearly 10.5 per cent to September and a shortage of homes continues to dominate the market.

High moving costs, estate agency fees and a supply-demand gap dominate.

And Mr Hayward said we continue to build too few homes to meet the needs of an expanding population.

"We are still seeing a lack of demand in the market because I think people perceive moving is an expensive operation and you are still have to jump through significant hoops to get the loan that you want. But west Kent is perceived as a high price location and I think the market is cooling a bit there. It will never go down but stable house prices are not necessarily a bad thing

"It will be the top end which is curtailed in 2017."

 

This three bedroom home is up for sale in Sevenoaks price 1,425,000

His words are echoed by Kent Live property consultant, Paul Fennel who says there is a lack of properties coming on the market.

"People are hesitating because of Brexit, they are worried about their own financial situation. It's not advisable to be moving if you do not know your own financial situation in three or four months' time.

"So what is slowing the market down is a lack of properties coming on to the market - anything that gets people slightly edgy had an effect on the housing market. They put off the decision to buy and sell and that affects the property values."

Tonbridge

But there are always winners and losers and the high prices of its neighbours have benefited Tonbridge which with its good commuter links and stock of family properties, new build river apartments and a new M&S. Prices soared nearly 15 per cent in the first nine months of the year and buyers reported a return of gazumping. One told Kent Live she had been caught in a bidding war three times before settling on a property she now considers a short term investment.

 

Up for sale in Tonbridge with Howard Cundey this three bedroom house price 430,000

Tonbridge estate agent Andrew Cruickshank said the town benefited from being sandwiched between more expensive areas, attracting London families looking for value and good communication links to the capital.

"Over the last four years we have seen prices go up 20 per cent. After Brexit we did see a couple of houses standing still for longer but it didn't happen too many times. Now we just see things going up and up and up.

"And I think there is an element of us catching up with our competitors."

Canterbury

Better communication has also benefited historic Canterbury where London can now be reached in under an hour. According to Mr Hayward it is a "Teflon town" - unaffected by the county's peaks and troughs.

The universities of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church drive two distinct sectors of the market. Those looking to buy or rent student accommodation and employees looking to find a home in what was once considered an isolated location.

This three bedroom Canterbury home on sale with Rightmove for 325,000

Canterbury estate agent Charlie Bainbridge said the city's schools were also a draw to families attracted by its three grammar schools Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys, Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys and Barton Court - as well as the independent school of St Edmund's, Kent College and the King's School.

Prices in the city went up 11.35 per cent according to the Land Registry's latest information up to October this year, meaning an average home in now work almost 298,000.

Mr Bainbridge said he expected prices to remain steady over the next year but unpredictability over Brexit could also have an effect.

Read more: These are the 9 cheapest homes in Kent - but there is a catch

A look at the rest

Here's what national internet estate agents, Rightmove has to say about prices in Kent up until December this year.

Gravesend

The majority of sales were terraced properties selling for an 253,000. Semi-detached properties fetched an average 314,000. Prices were up 16 per cent.

Maidstone

Most houses sold this year in Kent's county town were terrace properties, selling with an average price of nearly 240,000. Flats sold for an average of 165,000 while semi-detached properties went for almost 300,000. Overall prices were up 5 per cent.

Ashford

Terraced homes in Ashford were selling for an average 204, semi-detached for 241,000 and detached homes fetched on average 340,000. Overall prices were up 4 per cent.

Broadstairs

The majority of properties sold in Broadstairs this year were detached homes with an average price of nearly 403,000. Semi-detached homes fetched around 262,000, while flats sold for an average 174,000. Prices were up 9 per cent

Ramsgate

Most properties sold in the seaside town were terraced fetching an average price of around 194,000. Semi-detached homes sold for nearly 218,000 while flats sold for an average price of 134,000. Prices were up 12 per cent.

 

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