Southern Rail in England has generated a lot of newspaper headlines in the last six months, thanks to a series of strikes from RMT Union members. New research reveals that they may be starting to impact house prices.
According to figures compiled by online estate agents HouseSimple.com, property price growth since July has ground to a halt along the Brighton Mainline, Mainline West and East routes, which are used by hundreds of thousands of commuters every week.
This, however, is not in keeping with wider market trends: average property prices along these routes have increased by £21,106 over the past 12 months.
Since July, prices have fallen by almost £2,000 (£1,875). Rail users have had to endure a summer of disruption, as RMT union members have staged a series of walkouts since the end of April, over the role of conductors on Southern services. A reduced timetable was also introduced in July.
Only four locations along the three main Southern Rail routes – Hove, Pulborough, Haywards Heath and Gatwick Airport – have seen positive growth since July, rising on average by 0.05 per cent (£234). Areas such as Redhill, Balcombe, Shoreham-by-Sea and Worthing, which have experienced strong price growth over the past 12 months, meanwhile, have seen prices fall since July. For example, average prices in Redhill, which is a 40-minute commute from London, increased almost £35,000 (9.19 per cent) over the past year, but since July they have fallen 0.31 per cent.
“Although July and August are traditionally quieter months for the property market, activity generally picks up in September,” says Alex Gosling, CEO of online estate agents HouseSimple.com . “But with no deal in sight, and three more RMT strikes planned before Christmas, prospective buyers who need a reliable train service to London may not be keen to purchase until the ongoing dispute is resolved.”
“For prospective buyers, concerns over an unreliable train service as a result of further strike action is bound to play on their minds when they’re deciding where to buy. It’s likely some buyers, who may be looking to move out of London for a better quality of life, and the opportunity to get more property for their money, will be put off committing to a purchase until this dispute is resolved.”