Herts property prices increased by up to 80 per cent since 2009

It's been a golden period for house price growth - but change may be in the offing

It's been a golden period for house price growth - but change may be in the offing - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Property prices have shot up by 80 per cent in some areas of Hertfordshire since interest rates fell to 0.5 per cent in March 2009.

Research by HouseSimple.com found that the ‘once-in-a-generation’ record low interest rate environment helped Herts achieve huge growth - and an average increase UK-wide of 41.2 per cent.

Herts fared especially well, with Watford recording the fifth highest increase - behind Cambridge, London, Slough and Oxford - followed by Hemel Hempstead (seventh) and Stevenage (eleventh).

The average property in Watford went up by 80 per cent over the eight year period, from £200,219 in March 2009 to £360,396 in April 2017.

This was compared to a 76.1 per cent rise in Hemel, from £230,686 to £406,312 and a 72.2 per cent increase in Stevenage (£160,350 to £276,201).

Nearby Milton Keynes and Luton also showed strong growth, coming sixth and eighth respectively.

The Bank of England dropped the rate still further in August 2016, to 0.25 per cent.

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Alex Gosling, CEO of HouseSimple.com, warned that change may be in the offing, however: “It’s been a golden period for UK homeowners, but there are signs that it could be coming to an end as the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) narrowly voted to hold interest rates at 0.25 per cent.

“House prices are also under pressure from the political and economic uncertainty of Brexit and the fallout from the disastrous General Election result for the Conservative Party. There is no evidence to suggest that property prices are about to plummet, but homeowners and home buyers do need to plan ahead, and make sure they can cover the impact of interest rate rises on their monthly mortgage payments.

“Many homeowners will have never seen an interest rate rise, and may believe rates will never rise. But they will eventually, and when they do, we could see rates rise by 1-2 per cent quite quickly. With many households already feeling the strain of higher day-to-day costs, monthly mortgage payments going up by several hundred pounds a month could tip them over the edge.”