Newport in South Wales has been identified as Britain’s fastest-moving property market, with the average length of time it takes to find a buyer in the city having been slashed by nearly a third over the past year.
Rightmove said last year’s announcement that tolls on the Severn Crossings will be scrapped at the end of 2018, and interest from buyers coming from more expensive areas such as nearby Bristol where the average asking price is over £300,000, have helped Newport’s housing market activity to surge.
Estate agents said buyers are able to swap a small terraced home in Bristol for a large detached family property in Newport for around the same price. Oldham, Scunthorpe, Rochdale, Wrexham and Dewsbury also appeared on the list of the fastest-moving housing markets.
The website looked at how local housing markets have changed over the past year, including the number of properties available and the number of days it takes to secure a buyer to make the findings. It found that in Newport, the average time it takes to secure a buyer for a property has fallen from 76 to 52 days – a 32% drop.
Average house prices there have also increased by 7% to reach £175,944. The increase in demand has led to the number of available properties for sale dwindling by more than a third (37%), Rightmove said. The Severn Crossings have served commuters driving between Wales and England for over 50 years.
It has previously been estimated that the average motorist could save over £1,400 per year through the scrapping of the tolls.
Rightmove’s housing market analyst Miles Shipside said: “The average asking price of a property in Newport is almost half that of Bristol so you can see why buyers are making the move into Wales, especially as they know the tolls on the bridges will be scrapped at the end of the year.
“However, the demand is clearly taking its toll on the number of properties agents have available to offer buyers on Rightmove, making it very much a sellers’ market in Newport right now.” – Rightmove also quoted the views of local estate agents in its report.
Mark Roberts, director of Roberts Estate Agents in Newport, said: “Buyers from Bristol are being able to sell a small terraced house and move to Newport to a four bed detached house for the same price, so I can see this level of activity and the stock shortages continuing for at least another 12 months.”
Paul Cleverly, managing director of Pinkmove estate agents in Newport, said good transport links, with the M4 motorway close by, are helping to attract buyers.
He said: “From the East are buyers from Bristol, and from the West are buyers from Cardiff.”
Nathan James Reeks, Owner of Nathan James estate agents in nearby Caldicot and Magor, said a “huge stock shortage” is making it tough for local first-time buyers trying to get on the ladder and for those coming from elsewhere.
Here are the top 10 fastest-moving property markets identified by Rightmove:
1. Newport, Wales
2. Oldham, North West
3. Scunthorpe, Yorkshire and the Humber
4. Rochdale, North West
5. Leigh, North West
6. Wrexham, Wales
7. Southport, North West
8. Colwyn Bay, Wales
9. Dewsbury, Yorkshire and the Humber
10. Birkenhead, North West