Has St Albans got its property mix wrong?

PUBLISHED: 08:00 17 November 2016

These recently built flats are on the former Oaklands College site in St Albans

These recently built flats are on the former Oaklands College site in St Albans

Archant

We are all aware of the unrelenting rise in house prices over the last 15-20 years, but less commented upon is the change in the mix of property types being built. As a resident of St Albans, it appears that more flats are being built, but is this true?

These charts compare the sale of established residential properties in St Albans with new buildsThese charts compare the sale of established residential properties in St Albans with new builds

HM Land Registry office, through the Open Government License, gives us access to ‘price paid data’ for all residential properties sold at full market value since 1995 in England and Wales, that’s over 21 million records in total. Each record includes sale price, completion date, address, property type and whether it was an established property or a new build.

By exploring this file, we can find the residential property sales in St Albans and investigate whether our hypothesis is correct.

The ‘Average Sale Price’ chart shows, by year of transaction, the price paid for established properties and new builds in St Albans. Reflecting well known statistics the price of established properties rises higher and higher, and between 1995 and 2004 the average price of a newly built property was greater than that of an established property. However, from 2005 onwards the average sale price of new builds drops behind and even decreases in the final period. Why is the price of newly built properties plateauing and even decreasing when those of established properties continue to climb?

The ‘Property Type’ chart shows, again by year of transaction, the percentage of sales volumes by property type for established properties and new builds. Here our hypothesis is confirmed, between 1995 and 2004 between 20-30 per cent of all new properties sold were flats, but from 2005 onwards this proportion jumps to over 60 per cent. Since 2015 over 90 per cent of all newly built properties sold have been flats.

The change in the mix of property type has moderated the sale price of new builds and provides more affordable homes for young people looking to get a foot on the housing ladder. But has it also exacerbated the price increase of larger homes if these properties are not being built?

Is a property mix where 90 per cent of new builds are flats the right mix given the demographic profile of residents in St Albans?

Sarah Teague, freelance data analyst, steague@ehanalysis.com

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