Southern Rail: prices on route fall as unions strike

Some areas have seen property prices tumble almost £8,000 in three months

Rail compensation

Six months of strike action by RMT Union members on the Southern Rail network may be hitting house prices along the route. A new study has revealed that property price growth has ground to a halt along Southern Rail routes, which are used by hundreds of thousands of commuters every week. Around the majority of commuter stations on the route, house prices have actually started to fall.

The research, by HouseSimple, examined house prices at stations within 1 hour and 40 minutes of London on the routes, and while the average property price has risen over the past 12 months by £21,106 - in the last six months, while strikes have hit commuters, the average house price has fallen £1,875. And in the last three months those falls have been even more worrying.

20 biggest price drops in the study over the past three months
Plumpton £7,764
Southeast £6,540
Bishopstone £5,636
Seaford £3,438
Amberley £5,320
Wivelsfield £5,006
Lewes £3,987
Newhaven Town £3,835
Christ's Hospital £3,541
Arundel £3,393
Brighton £2,723
Burgess Hill £2,433
Goring-by-sea £2,372
Eastbourne £2,259
Cooksbridge £2,075
Lancing £1,983
Horsham £1,929
Ford £1,874
Polegate £1,715
Billingshurst £1,650

Only four locations on the route have bucked the trend: with Hove, Pulborough, Haywards Heath, and Gatwick Airport seeing prices rise since July. Even then growth has been an unimpressive 0.05% (£234).

The researchers highlighted that while they would always expect July and August to be slow, September has also been sluggish. This may be related to the fact that there's no deal in sight between the rail operator and the unions, and there are three more strikes planned before Christmas, so commuters may not be keen to snap up property that will leave them at the mercy of these services.

Alex Gosling, CEO of online estate agents HouseSimple.com comments: "House prices along Southern Rail routes haven't gone into freefall just yet, but these figures do suggest that the ongoing dispute is hurting local property markets. It would be a real kick in the teeth if homeowners, who have had to endure the daily misery of train delays, cancellations and strike action, started to see the value of their homes falling because of the RMT and Southern Rail's inability to reach a deal.

"It's likely some buyers, who may be looking to move out of London for a better quality of life, and the opportunity to get more property for their money, will be put off committing to a purchase until this dispute is resolved. On the other hand, it could provide an opportunity for determined buyers to negotiate a good price if there are sellers who need to move and are willing to consider lower offers in order to sell quickly."

But what do you think? Would ongoing disputes along your commute put you off? Or would you be keen to use it as a chance to snap up a bargain? Let us know in the comments.


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