Research by national estate agent Jackson-Stops reveals the best locations in which to buy a home by stamp duty band. The analysis of Rightmove asking price data shows that Surrey currently has the highest number of properties on the market, ranging from studios to 10 bedroom homes, out of the 46 counties analysed excluding London. There are 21,712 properties available in this county, accounting for 6% of all stock for sale in England’s counties. Kent and Essex follow closely behind with 19,387 (5.5%) and 19,334 (5.5%) properties respectively.
Nick Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops, comments:
“Regardless whether the buyer is new to the market or looking for a downsizer home, purchasing a property is a big commitment, so finding the right one for the right price is a must for many. The country is suffering from a chronic lack of stock so those counties that offer far more choice are therefore much more appealing to buyers, particularly for those with a specific budget. While the latest RICS data shows that average stock levels remain at an all-time low, it’s clear from this data that an abundance of properties can mainly be found in the south east and east of England. Our research shows that those looking to buy in the middle to top end of the market might have better luck finding their dream home in the Home Counties of Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, and Surrey, while those wanting to get more bang for their buck should look further north.
“Having lived in Rutland for many years, I am not surprised to see our research showing a lack of stock in this county. It is it the smallest county in the UK and is home to just two market towns. The demographic of buyers tend to be families looking for their ‘forever home’ so once someone moves here they very rarely leave.
“There is also a clear lack of properties available at the top end of the market, which can largely be attributed to stamp duty charges. Once a property hits the £2 million market, stamp duty costs alone stand at more than £153,000, which, partnered with the running and renovation costs associated with a larger property, could put buyers off if sellers aren’t willing to compromise on price. Both sellers and buyers are therefore taking a ‘wait and see’ approach, which is further impacting moves both up and down the property ladder.”
Properties under £125,000
To get the best bang for your buck, Lancashire in north-west England comes out on top, as a result of having the highest number of properties available with the most amount of bedrooms. More than 5,700 properties are currently on the market in this county, making up 10% of the market in this price band. Offering more than 3,000 two bedroom homes, just under 2,000 three bedroom homes and almost 50 five and six bedroom homes, the area offers high levels of choice with the added benefit of no stamp duty implications.
However, if a smaller home is needed, buyers should turn their attention one hour south to Merseyside. The county, which is home to investment hotspots such as Liverpool, currently has the highest amount of studios and one bedroom apartments on the market (1,551) for less than £125,000.
With Merseyside home to hundreds of thousands of university students and second home owners exempt from paying the additional 3% in stamp duty costs for properties under £125,000, Merseyside is a key hotspot for buy-to-let landlords looking to benefit from strong rental yields.
Properties between £125,001 and £250,000
Lancashire remains the front runner in this band, with almost 6,000 homes currently on the market ranging from studios to ten bedroom homes. Surrey, which is the ideal hotspot for London commuters, is currently home to the highest number of studios and one bedroom apartments (1,249) but only benefits from 4 four bedroom homes in this price bracket.
Properties between £250,001 and £450,000
With Rightmove’s latest data stating that the national average asking price of new properties to the market has hit a new record of £305,732, it is not surprising to see the £250,001 to £450,000 price band has the most choice across the English county market.
The only way is Essex if you want the best possible choice for a two, three or four bedroom home for £250,001 to £450,000. Essex accounts for more than 8% of the market in this price bracket, and includes over 4,500 three bedroom homes alone. Kent follows in second position, currently taking home a 7% share of this market, with 8,250 properties in this band.
However, those looking for a country pile should look to Devon, where there are almost 100 six+ bedroom houses on the market.
Properties between £450,001 and £925,000
Commuter hotspot Surrey has the most amount of stock available for asking prices between £450,001 and £925,000, with almost 3,500 properties on the market. Almost 40% of the properties available in this band in the county of Surrey are three bedroom homes – making it an ideal hotspot for those looking for their first family home.
Those homeowners just across the border in Hampshire will be interested to know that there are currently more than 2,700 extra three bedroom homes and over 1,000 additional four bedroom properties available in Surrey compared to their own home county’s property stock.
Properties between £925,001 and £1.5 million
Surrey remains the favourite with more than 1,700 properties available in this price band, making up almost 20% of this market. Kent and Hertfordshire follow in second and third position, but with around 700 properties available, Surrey is the clear winner in terms of choice, ranging from luxury studios and one bedroom apartments for city commuters to eight bedroom family homes.
More than half of all counties analysed have less than 100 properties on the market in this price bracket, which shows a clear lack of properties available at the top end of the market. With a minimum of £36,250 required in stamp duty costs for a £925,000 property, this could be having a significant impact on sellers’ current decisions to market their home.
Properties above £1.5 million
Unsurprisingly, Surrey continues to remain in prime position in the £1.5 million plus bracket. Out of the 4,600 properties currently available for this price more than 1,100 are situated in Surrey. However, only 175 of these properties in Surrey include seven or more bedrooms.
Hertfordshire takes second position, with just under 350 properties available, which makes up 7.5% of the market. 34 of the counties analysed have less than 100 properties on the market for an asking price of more than £1.5 million, with just four properties on the market in South Yorkshire and Bristol.
The star locations:
Alan King, Partner at Jackson-Stops’ Dorking and Reigate branches
“It is not surprising to see Surrey has the highest number of properties currently on the market out of all English counties, particularly at the middle to the top end of the market. We are seeing a lot more stock coming to the market, in areas such as Dorking and Reigate especially, when compared to this time last year. Although there is still appetite to buy, affordability issues and concerns around the stability of the economy as we move out of the EU are not making buyer’s purchasing decisions any easier.
“Surrey, however, has always and will continue to be a popular choice for young professionals, particularly in areas such as Dorking, which benefit from fantastic transport links into London in under an hour. It is also a firm favourite with families wanting to set up camp in the scenic countryside surrounded by sought-after schools including The Ashcombe, one of the main state secondary schools in Dorking, and Holmesdale Community Infant School in Reigate.”
Jamie Stephenson, Director of Jackson-Stops’ Chelmsford branch
“The Essex property market continues to go from strength to strength and is likely to remain that way with the construction of the Elizabeth Line nearing completion, which will shorten journey times from the county to the centre of the Capital. With the East-West line set to complete in 2019, enabling direct travel from areas such as Shenfield and Brentwood to key locations such as Heathrow Airport, it will play a significant role in heightening property demand and increasing prices in those and the surrounding areas.
“Buyers are now, and have been for some time, turning their attention from well-located homes in obvious commuter-friendly Essex hotspots, such as Ingatestone and Brentwood, for homes further west in the county that offer greater value for money. A significant number of young families are targeting the periphery villages of Chelmsford such as the Easters, Rodings and Pleshey, which still offer great road and rail links and fantastic schools but most importantly a more rural and tranquil setting to enjoy.
“Our latest data shows Essex Council’s commitment to providing greater choice. The East of England Plan, which places an emphasis upon Essex to meet housing growth targets, proposed the delivery of 127,000 homes in the period from 2001 to 2021. The Key Centres, which includes Chelmsford, Colchester, Thurrock, Southend, Harlow and Basildon, are expected to deliver over 65% of the total Essex housing growth, but other areas of Essex such as Great Dunmow and Braintree have already made substantial contributions to housing and economic growth. Further investment and regeneration will continue to cement the County’s standing as a viable venture for purchasers.”