House prices slashed in commuter towns - can you cash in?

Is this your chance to bag a property bargain in a commuter town?

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Basingstoke

The slowdown in the London property market has reached the commuter towns. A new study has revealed that towns within easy reach of London have seen more properties reduced in price than anywhere else in the UK - and Reading has emerged as the price cut capital.

So can you cash in on the changing market?

See also: Nearly half of 18-35s waiting to buy first home with partner, research finds

See also: First-time buyers underestimate cost of home, survey shows


The study, by Housesimple, found that overall in the UK, a third of all properties have been reduced since they first hit the market. It then focused on those areas with the sharpest increase in price reductions since February.

Price cut hotspots:
1. Reading
2. Basingstoke (pictured)
3. Basildon
4. Chelmsford
5. Woking
6. Winchester
7. High Wycombe
8. Watford
9. Luton
10. Northampton

Alex Gosling, CEO of online estate agents HouseSimple.com says: "The London commuter belt has seen a property price boom over the past decade, as Londoners priced out of the capital's property market have moved further out to take advantage of cheaper stock and excellent local amenities including highly rated state schools.

"As a result, the gap between property prices in many of the commuter towns and prices in central London has narrowed. Anyone looking in some of the most popular commuter towns, 30 minutes from London, may now find that properties aren't any more affordable.

"That is putting pressure on local property markets, as buyers may be starting to look further afield for value for money."


Can you cash in?

If you're selling, Gosling says it's a matter of cutting your losses. He says: "For anyone selling a property, have the lowest price you're willing to take in the back of your mind, and be prepared to negotiate if a strong buyer – someone with finance in place who can move quickly to exchange – makes an offer. Sometimes holding out for an offer that might be a few thousand pounds more, could result in your property sitting on the market for months."

If you are a first time buyer, meanwhile, you have real negotiating power at the moment, especially when a property has been sitting on the market for a while. There's nothing stopping you from putting in a cheeky offer, and leaving it on the table for the seller to consider. If they insist on pushing closer to the asking price, you can always agree, and then use the survey to negotiate a further discount. It's not going to make you any friends, but in the current market they will be keen to secure the sale.

If you are selling and then buying, you have a choice to make. If you can sell and rent, then you are in a great position to negotiate a bargain - which in some cases will more than cover the cost of the extra house move and a few months of rental. If prices fall during this process, then you can save a significant sum, and pay thousands of pounds less for the property.

However, you run the risk of wasting a fortune on rent, and watching prices rise while you're out of the market, so it's a question of whether you think it's worth taking the risk.

But what do you think? Would risk it? Let us know in the comments.

UK property hotspots 2017 (according to Zoopla)

UK property hotspots 2017 (according to Zoopla)