Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mind the Gap on Your Wayhometo the Country; Prices Are at Tipping Point, So If You Want to Leave London Go Now, to Take Your Profit and Find Best Value in the Country, Says Ruth Bloomfield

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mind the Gap on Your Wayhometo the Country; Prices Are at Tipping Point, So If You Want to Leave London Go Now, to Take Your Profit and Find Best Value in the Country, Says Ruth Bloomfield

Article excerpt

Byline: Ruth Bloomfield

THE gap between rural and urban house prices has been growing steadily over the past 12 months. A study by the Office for National Statistics shows prices in London rose 11.6 per cent in the year to November, while the rest of the UK managed only a 5.4 per cent rise over the same period. Exactly how long the capital's prices will continue to outperform is a matter for debate and it could all end in tears.

Economic forecaster Ernst & Young takes the line that London is exhibiting "bubble-like" signs, and that such price rises are unsustainable. Others believe prices in the capital will simply begin to gently level off, giving other regions a chance to close the gap.

Most experts feel the latter outcome is most likely. Either way, now is the time to make the change for those London home owners who want to take their profit and plough it into a larger property elsewhere.

Rupert Sweeting, head of estate agent Knight Frank's country department, believes it is time to move. With some parts of the capital almost 40 per cent above peak prices in 2007, the rest of the country remains 10 to 15 per cent below. But he agrees the gap will inevitably close as price rises ripple out of London. "Buyers who wait will miss the boat," he says. "I am seeing a return in confidence in the country. And when I talk to people who are considering selling their homes in the country, they all tell how business is better, how they are employing more people."

the key destinations Recent research by Knight Frank documents the cost of commuting and living in 15 key commuter locations. In Henley, as an example, a mortgage on an average-priced property (PS318,345) costs PS1,017.14 a month to service. The train journey into London is PS344 a month, making a total of PS1,361.14 to live the rural life in Oxfordshire.

Towns in Surrey's "Golden Triangle", Cobham (average property price PS619,325), Esher (PS442,316) and Guildford (PS379,159), have shorter journey times into London than Oxford. But shaving about 15 minutes off your commute doesn't come cheap.

In Cobham the monthly outgoings equal PS2,232. …

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