UK Home Counties review Q1 2020

Sales market sees values across all counties close to flat over the past year, with activity slightly down overall.

The Home Counties markets are connected to London due to commuting and migration links, but locally generated demand also has a part to play.

The relationship between values in the two areas is shown in Figure 1. After peaking at 1.36 in 2015 the ratio of London to Home Counties values has declined to 1.28 in Q1 2020 as we moved through the market cycle. This is still well above the long-run average.

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The table below summarises some of the key data from the homes counties sales markets. Values across all counties were close to flat over the past year, with activity slightly down overall.

Table 3 – Home Counties Sales Data, Detached Properties Only

Average value
(Feb 2020)
Annual change in values# of sales
(12m to Dec 2019)
Annual change in sales
Buckinghamshire£729,000-0.7%2,700-3.7%
Berkshire£666,000+0.9%3,300+2.1%
Surrey£796,000-0.8%5,200-1.8%
Kent£499,000+0.5%5,900-7.8%
Hertfordshire£796,000-0.5%3,100-3.8%
Essex£484,000-1.0%7,500-7.0%
Source: ONS UK HPI (data rounded to £1000, 100 sales)

Robust rental market data at county level is not available, but the ONS index includes regional analysis. The chart in Figure 2 shows that rental growth in the South East and East has approximately tracked the national average. Annual growth in these two regions for March was +1.1% (SE) and +1.6% (E).

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The outlook for the Home Counties is likely to alter as attitudes to working from home evolve. The value of commuter towns has been in large part determined by their proximity to London but this will change if daily travel to and from the capital is deemed non-essential.

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Sophy Moffat

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