London commuter towns see the biggest rise in estate agents cutting property more than anywhere else

Here’s why

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.

  • Price cutting capital: In Reading, the percentage of properties currently on the market that have been reduced in price, has almost doubled since February 2017
  • Over a third of properties (33.5 per cent) currently for sale in 100-plus major UK towns and cities have been reduced in price since they were first marketed
  • One in Seven UK towns and cities have 40 per cent or more properties on the market currently that have been dropped in price

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 per cent over the past five years. But HouseSimple research found that 44.0 per cent of properties currently for sale in the Berkshire town have been reduced in price since they were first advertised. That compares to 22.8 per cent 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 per cent of properties currently for sale have been reduced in price since they were first marketed. That compares to 19.1 per cent when the research was conducted back in February 2017, an increase of 16.5 per cent. 

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/CityRegionListings – Feb 17    per cent of listings reduced in price – Feb 17 (A)Listings – Aug 17    per cent of listings reduced in price – Aug 17 (B) per cent Increase between (B) and (A)
ReadingSouth East37722.8 per cent56244.0 per cent21.2 per cent
BasingstokeSouth32419.1 per cent49435.6 per cent16.5 per cent
BasildonEast42026.7 per cent51741.0 per cent14.3 per cent
ChelmsfordEast22921.4 per cent34634.4 per cent13.0 per cent
WokingSouth East30731.6 per cent43543.2 per cent11.6 per cent
WinchesterSouth9025.6 per cent15436.4 per cent10.8 per cent
High WycombeSouth East39022.8 per cent46233.6 per cent10.8 per cent
WatfordEast40531.4 per cent54542.0 per cent10.6 per cent
LutonSouth East50021.4 per cent74431.9 per cent10.5 per cent
NorthamptonEast Mid64423.9 per cent76133.8 per cent9.9 per cent
PortsmouthSouth39927.0 per cent50236.8 per cent9.8 per cent
BrightonSouth East57832.5 per cent77742.2 per cent9.7 per cent
ChesterNorth West36625.1 per cent41734.3 per cent9.2 per cent
ShrewsburyWest Mid11229.5 per cent11238.4 per cent8.9 per cent
HerefordWest Mid16026.9 per cent17435.1 per cent8.2 per cent
SloughSouth East50723.6 per cent79431.7 per cent8.1 per cent
CambridgeEast26620.0 per cent31128.0 per cent8.0 per cent
WiganNorth West49437.5 per cent49745.5 per cent8.0 per cent
SalisburySouth West10230.4 per cent11238.3 per cent7.9 per cent
MaidstoneSouth East42632.2 per cent46040.0 per cent7.8 per cent

August 2017

Looking at August 2017 figures in isolation, more than a third of properties (33.5 per cent) 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 per cent) of properties have been dropped in price. 

Across the country, 18 of the towns or cities analysed by HouseSimple, are members of the 40 per cent club – where 40 per cent 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 per cent) currently being marketed have been dropped in price to secure a sale. In Wigan, 45.5 per cent of properties have had a price reduction. 

This compares with Salford and Edinburgh, where just 11.3 per cent and 11.7 per cent 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 per cent) has the highest percentage of price reductions on current stock. This compares with 27.5 per cent in Birmingham and only 16.6 per cent 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. 

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