Kent is the ‘Garden of England’ and the apple of many a property buyers eye but where should you cherry pick your next home to make the most of property price rises?
We all know that London is the beating heart of the UK property market and that the South and Southeast are closely linked to it. The ripples of activity spread out from the centre and weaken the further away you get but will that always be true?
I chose to take a look at property prices in Kent and see what changes there were and if there are indications of where the upcoming hotspots are.
Looking at property prices from a statistical point of view is a minefield. There are any number of house price calculators out there and all will show different results because of the data they use and weightings they apply. We have looked at specific areas, included only the main town or village data and not included their parishes, this just for simplicity of collating data.
What we have for you in this article is raw unadjusted data from Land Registry, average prices are there to indicate trends and help us make a point so please bear in mind, if you are looking to find out how your homes value has altered ask someone along to give you an opinion, don’t apply a mathematical formula, people value homes from the heart.
Why the years in question? Call it a seven year itch. It’s 2015 and seven years ago provided a life changing moment in the property market for many home owners. As we haven’t got a full years data yet I took 2014 and compared it to 2008 and 2001. You’ll see some fascinating changes.
So where are the coming hotspots, what makes one and can you anticipate them?
Property prices respond to supply and demand. People move for jobs, convenience (commuting) and change of lifestyle, i.e. children and often retirement. Large towns offer supply and convenience, villages tend to provide demand and lifestyle choice.
For Kent proximity to London is the main key factor affecting prices. Demand follows the transports arteries, M2 and M20 and the railway lines, a quicker journey means more desirable. In recent years the appeal of HS1 and the journey to St Pancras has also had an impact on people’s lives.
Getting towards the coast and extremities of Kent tends to reflect more of a lifestyle choice. Distance from London ties in with this, compare Whitstable with Deal. Ashford benefits from links to Europe as do many coastal spots.
The closer to London, generally the better the property price growth performance. Isolated areas occasionally surprise us with the chocolate box effect or perhaps a feature such as a school draws money in from outside the area.
Families are big motivators in the property world. Start life in London and as the family arrives move out to somewhere more affordable or to achieve a better lifestyle. Go back to our comments on convenience and take a look at prices in areas such as Folkestone and Dover, not always the first choices for many people but suddenly, thanks to HS1, much more convenient. Folkestone in particular has beautiful architecture, the old quarter attracting artists and The Leas for beautiful walks overlooking The Channel. Whitstable has been the darling of many a movers eye but Faversham, Broadstairs and Deal lure many discerning buyers. Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks have long attracted people to West Kent but Tonbridge, oft looked down upon has an easy commute, excellent Schools including the world famous Tonbridge School for boys and a sixty nine acre park beside the central castle.
New development in an area can greatly influence overall prices, build affordable housing and averages can be lowered, build premium homes and the reverse is true, probably one of the main contributing factors lifting our overall winner to top spot.
Looking for your own place to make a killing? Look for job growth and business investment, convenience and good schooling. Alternatively find a little haven from the madness where little growth can happen but access will improve.

Nationwide HPI150801 data for prices across kent


This article first appeared in the October 2015 edition of Kent Life

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