'Shop small' boosts house prices


Stamp duty revenues surge to £1.2bn

High streets populated with thriving independent businesses have added an average of £40,000 to nearby house prices over the last decade, according to a report.

The rise in property values was 17% higher than the growth in comparable areas with proportionally fewer independent traders, the American Express High Streets Ahead study said.

It suggested that homeowners living close to a flourishing local high street could see the value of their property outperform similar homes elsewhere by as much as £70,000 over the next 10 years.

It found that consumers living in areas with a higher proportion of small, independent businesses spent an average 21% of their annual retail budget shopping locally, compared with those living near fewer independent traders, who spent 6% locally.

The study identified five "high street hot spots" it described as good examples of areas with thriving independent retailers which looked set to prosper over the next five years: Whitstable, Kent; Marlborough, Wiltshire; Hungerford, Berkshire; Totnes, Devon, and Yarm, North Yorkshire.

American Express UK managing director Colin Walsh said: "This report identifies what we're calling the 'shop small effect', which is the reciprocal benefit consumers can enjoy simply by supporting their local independent traders.

"December 7 is Small Business Saturday and we're encouraging as many people as possible to go out and celebrate the UK's small businesses and the value they bring to their broader communities."

Television personality and property expert Kirstie Allsopp said: "This report confirms what we in the property business have believed for some time.

"Building extensions and new kitchens and bathrooms are not the only ways to add value to your house.

"By shopping locally and supporting local traders, you are investing in your home as well as your high street.

"The day (Small Business Saturday) is all about saying to people, if you value having the butcher and the grocer on your doorstep and the benefits they bring to your neighbourhood, then we all have a part to play."