Is Southern crisis having effect on house prices?

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Rail service issues have caused months of misery for commuters – but have the troubles had a knock on effect on house prices?

Research by online estate agents Housesimple claimed property price growth since July has ground to a halt along the Brighton Mainline, Mainline West and East routes.

But one estate agent has cast doubt over the claims, suggesting he had ‘no evidence’ that the rail saga had influenced the market.

Glen Bacon, who set up Bacon and Company in 1990, said: “I really don’t feel that the issues regarding Southern have had any affect on the property market at all.

“My personal view is if properties are coming on the market at the right price there are still people out there who are buying because mortgage rates have never been at this level.”

The research stated positive growth along Southern’s three main routes between July and September had only been experienced in Hove, Pulborough, Haywards Heath and Gatwick Airport.

It claimed house prices along the routes had risen by an average of £21,106 over the past 12 months – but fallen an average of £1,875 (0.42 per cent) since July.

Data was only collected from station locations within one hour, 40 minutes from London.

Alex Gosling, chief executive of Housesimple, suggested concerns over an unreliable train service were ‘bound to play on the minds’ of prospective buyers – but offered no alternative conclusions as to the cause of the apparent dip.

Mr Bacon, who is also president of Worthing and District Estate Agents’ Association, said Brexit uncertainty had potentially led to the market not being as buoyant as it would have been.

But he said it was easy to blame the European Union issue – and pointed to former chancellor George Osborne’s stamp duty reforms as having a more significant effect.

The April reforms created a three per cent duty hike for buy-to-let investors and second home buyers.

This, he said, was contributing to a serious shortage of rental accommodation across the area.