1.9 per cent rise in Herts house prices “ridiculous” says local agent

Prices in Stevenage have risen far higher than 1.9 per cent in the last year, according to a local a

Prices in Stevenage have risen far higher than 1.9 per cent in the last year, according to a local agent - Credit: Archant

Hertfordshire house prices have risen just 1.9 per cent year-on-year according to the latest Rightmove House Price Index – news a local agent describes as “ridiculous”.

Barry Butler, manager of Mather Marshall in Stevenage says “1.9 per cent is ridiculous – they’re much higher than that”.

He notes that the UK House Price Index showed 15.8 per cent growth year-on-year in Stevenage in November, and he believes the current figure to be “closer to 10 per cent” than 1.9 per cent.

The figure for Welwyn Hatfield stood at 14.6 per cent back in November, while St Albans recorded a 13.1 per cent rise – a very different story to the last six months, according to the new county-wide figures.

Barry admits that the situation in Stevenage may not reflect what other areas of Hertfordshire are experiencing, with buyers moving there when they’re priced out of nearby towns as “it is notoriously the most affordable place.

“More and more people are coming out of areas like Welwyn Garden City, Hertford, Wheathampstead and London. Even though prices have increased massively in Stevenage, it’s still substantially cheaper here.”

The average property price for Herts stands at £508,105 according to Rightmove, up from £498,481 in May 2016 – a figure that has also surprised Nick Doyle, operations director for Aitchisons in St Albans.

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He said: “The increase seems quite low. We’re selling two-bed cottages for typically up to £500,000, but there are examples now of them going for £525-535,000 which is a 5-7 per cent increase.”

Nick says several factors could be to blame for the relatively small increase, including an over-supply of two-bed apartments in St Albans and a tightening of the London market.

He said: “The London market’s obviously suffering a bit and that has a knock-on effect on St Albans. People are coming in now who would have sold their property in London very quickly and be keen to move out to St Albans but now they’re coming in saying ‘we’ve still got a house to sell’.

“There’s also been a bit of over-supply of new build apartments in St Albans and that’s affected the second-hand market. But generally speaking the family homes and cottages have all gone up higher than that percentage – without a shadow of a doubt.”