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/City Region Listings – 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)
Reading South East 377 22.8 per cent 562 44.0 per cent 21.2 per cent
Basingstoke South 324 19.1 per cent 494 35.6 per cent 16.5 per cent
Basildon East 420 26.7 per cent 517 41.0 per cent 14.3 per cent
Chelmsford East 229 21.4 per cent 346 34.4 per cent 13.0 per cent
Woking South East 307 31.6 per cent 435 43.2 per cent 11.6 per cent
Winchester South 90 25.6 per cent 154 36.4 per cent 10.8 per cent
High Wycombe South East 390 22.8 per cent 462 33.6 per cent 10.8 per cent
Watford East 405 31.4 per cent 545 42.0 per cent 10.6 per cent
Luton South East 500 21.4 per cent 744 31.9 per cent 10.5 per cent
Northampton East Mid 644 23.9 per cent 761 33.8 per cent 9.9 per cent
Portsmouth South 399 27.0 per cent 502 36.8 per cent 9.8 per cent
Brighton South East 578 32.5 per cent 777 42.2 per cent 9.7 per cent
Chester North West 366 25.1 per cent 417 34.3 per cent 9.2 per cent
Shrewsbury West Mid 112 29.5 per cent 112 38.4 per cent 8.9 per cent
Hereford West Mid 160 26.9 per cent 174 35.1 per cent 8.2 per cent
Slough South East 507 23.6 per cent 794 31.7 per cent 8.1 per cent
Cambridge East 266 20.0 per cent 311 28.0 per cent 8.0 per cent
Wigan North West 494 37.5 per cent 497 45.5 per cent 8.0 per cent
Salisbury South West 102 30.4 per cent 112 38.3 per cent 7.9 per cent
Maidstone South East 426 32.2 per cent 460 40.0 per cent 7.8 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.”