Could This Be The Time To Take The Plunge And Relocate To England's Great Commuter Belt?

London stands apart from the rest of the UK in many ways and its property market is no exception. While the rest of the country was experiencing house price stagnation, the London property market was steaming ahead regardless, helped in no small way by high end foreign investment. Rich foreign owners clearly see London as a safe haven to invest in to help guard against the instability in the financial markets. Very wealthy investors are constantly battling it out over top end properties leading to some eye-watering trophy prices, which in turn help to keep confidence high elsewhere.

Landlords are also raking it in and the buy to let market is booming. While this is true for most of the country, the average rental price for properties in central London are consistently way ahead of the national trend, with increases of over 6% year on year. This has seen the return of the amateur landlords, who are eagerly buying up all the property they can to take advantage of the rent rises. 

Despite all of this, London may yet prove itself to be susceptible to the problems that have affected other parts of the country and there is a real risk of the bubble bursting. The influx of foreign investment has pushed prices way out of the reach of most prospective buyers, so more are renting. A lack of supply has seen the rental market strengthen, but eventually there has to be a breaking point. 

There has recently been an increase in urgent sales in some of the boroughs in London, partly as a result of the riots in 2011, which also put off a number of foreign buyers. The current instability in the Euro zone could also see a change in the currency markets causing foreign investors to further lose interest. Even if foreign investment remains strong, the market is becoming a little more unstable as you get closer to the M25 and a flood of new properties coming onto the market, as a result of forced sales, could drag prices down and slowly kill the market. 

With all this in mind, now could be a good time for those fortunate enough to own property in London, or those looking to buy, to get out while the goings good and join the other refugees in England’s great commuter land, commonly known as Surrey.

Surrey’s Golden Triangle

England’s property hotspots are not confined to London and the great commuter belt passing through Surrey is one of the best and most stable anywhere in the UK. Defined by rolling countryside, rural period properties and solid thirties build town houses; the area between Godalming, Chobham and Epsom is one of the country’s most reliable hotspots to find a consistent and relatively expensive property market. A good home here will always move very quickly and prices and demand have remained relatively constant throughout. As an indication of the strong performance, a five bedroom detached house will look to fetch anything between one and six million at auction and the demand for such properties is so great that an open house in this area will commonly attract upwards of thirty buyers.

The Surrey commuter belt

Those not in the market for a £5 million country mansion can still find a stable and buoyant market by looking at some of the smaller towns just outside the golden triangle. Commuter towns such as Reigate, Redhill and Godstone also offer a consistently healthy market with property prices growing steadily for much of the last four years, and now averaging over £300,000. With many housing their headquarters in the town, estate agents and solicitors in Redhill are reporting a buoyant market both in the town and across the region, with many Londoners choosing to escape the hectic capital for a more tranquil and stable life. Taking this town as an example, along with a large number of estate agents and solicitors, Redhill is also home to a number of major firms such as Sutton and East Surrey 

Water, Travellers Insurance and Aon Risk Services showing that, despite most of the town’s residents being commuters, it is itself very economically active.  The town also houses one of the most active commuter stations in the country serving 1,500,000 season ticket holders.

The attraction to the area is not only down to its proximity to London, but also to the quality of life enjoyed by its residents. There are many good schools serving the area and transport between them is easy and efficient.  There is also an abundance of leisure activities with good shops, golf courses and outdoor pursuits on its doorstep. Another interesting fact about the area is that it is home to the largest proportion of people working out of home based offices, and this is a feature that many prospective sellers are being encouraged to highlight. Most homes are certainly spacious enough to house an office and many of the detached properties come with out-houses ripe for conversion.

So with the prospect of the London property bubble finally bursting, or at least slowing, now could be a great time to pull up sticks and head out to join the other commuters north of the M25. Not only does it offer a more relaxed, family friendly environment, but also planting yourself in one of the most reliable property hotspots in the country could also prove to be a sound investment for the future.

Nick Thorping is a writer who has a keen interest in business related matter. He recommends that if you need the assistance of solicitors Redhill experts can advise you on what are the most reputable companies.

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