House Prices Still on the Up

Continued high demand coupled with low supply in the housing market has led to the biggest January price rise forIncrease in property prices 17 years. Nationwide Building Society says property prices rose by 0.8% from December to January, with an increase of 11.2% for the year. Nationwide claims the average house price in the UK is now £255,556, up from £254,822 in December. The trend is confirmed by fellow-mortgage lender Halifax who announced that prices rose by an average of £24,500 in 2020, with their estimate of the average property cost now standing at £276,091.

Boosted by low interest rates and the stamp duty holiday the total number of property transactions last year was the highest since 2007, and around 25% higher than before the pandemic hit in 2019. Most estate agents are reporting low stocks of property for sale, adding to the upward pressure on prices.

Many Londoners have boosted the property market in south-west Herts by leaving the capital in the last couple of years, taking advantage of work from home arrangements during the pandemic. With more time at home many city dwellers have also discovered a need for extra space and bigger gardens, especially if they have young families.

It is estimated that last year Londoners spent £55 billion on 112,000 properties in their quest for a quieter life outside the city. This is a 51% increase from 2019 in the number of those looking to escape to the suburbs. But is the grass always greener when you exchange life in the city for suburbia? We may have fresh air, open spaces and access to the countryside, as well as farm shops, country pubs, and spectacular views, but this may not always be enough.

If you’re used to 24 hour transport that runs late into the night could you cope with once-a-day buses and no uber-coverage? Many city-dwellers see no need to own a car and have never taken a driving test, but in most outlying areas having your own vehicle for the school run, shopping or commuting is an absolute necessity. Trendy city-types wanting a choice of artisan bakers, cheesemongers and coffee roasters on their doorstep are likely to be disappointed in the shopping opportunities afforded by many suburban towns. Escaping the bustle and 24-hour culture of the city might sound appealing until you’re faced with driving for miles to find a shop open when you run out of milk. And the nearest thing to culture could mean waiting for the latest block-buster film to reach your local village hall weeks after its release in the city. Not everything in the suburban garden is rosy.

Of course many couples and families thrive after exchanging their hectic life in the city for a more relaxed pace out of town. For others though it can lead to boredom and frustration, especially for the parent stuck at home with the children while their spouse is out at work. Social groups may already be well established and difficult to join, and personality clashes can be hard to avoid in smaller social circles. Fall-outs within the family may surface, and could at worst lead to separation and divorce.

It’s hard for us to believe but in an article in The Times, Fashion Editor Harriet Walker describes how one couple she knew in London recently moved to St Albans, only to move back to the city a short time later. Even free childcare from parents was not enough to make the couple stay. Another friend of hers relocated from Hackney to Harpenden, before dissatisfaction with life in a small commuter town drove the friend to take a job in New York. Most of us enjoy life in St Albans and beyond, but clearly not everyone would agree.

Bretherton Law have been serving the people of Hertfordshire for over 50 years. Our team of experienced Property Lawyers will ensure that whether you are buying or selling, the conveyancing process will run smoothly and professionally. We offer a same day response promise as well as fixed fee quotes. Bretherton Law are accredited under the Lexcel legal practice and the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Schemes. Contact us on 01727 869293 or use the contact form below.