In the world of property prices, a lot can happen in a year – so it’s no surprise that looking at a moving map of the house prices changing across England and Wales, from 1995 through to 2014, is enough to make your head hurt.
The ONS map reveals priciest pockets of land, confirming the North/South divide; it reveals the stark contrast between house prices showing that houses in London average over £300,000 compared with the North East, averaging a little over £150,000. The darker the hue of green, the more expensive the area.
Unsurprisingly, the biggest cluster of dark green is the area of London and the Home Counties, with the south coast and commuter belt around the capital coming a close second. The cheapest, lightest green areas are pockets across wales and the North of England.
The reason for this is simple; London is becoming much too ludicrously expensive for many families to afford to live in. People are choosing to sell up, move to the border and commute in for more disposal income and a higher quality of life. Consequently, the so-called ‘commuter belt’ (area bordering London) is climbing the ranks in terms of demand, therefore pushing up house prices.
Jeremy Helsby, chief executive of global real estate company Savills, muses that the current house price explosion in London has caused rising numbers of people to sell up and move out into Surrey, Kent or even Cambridge and Oxford, including himself. These counties are far enough out of the capital to benefit from significantly lower house prices, but close enough to still be within a reasonable distance for a commute.
“People are selling up in London – they’ve had a very strong rise over the last two to three years – especially families with kids who decide they can’t get the right schools and want more space.”