If you’re a property seller in Gravesend, prepare yourself for some good news. House prices in the Kent town grew by 7.2% in the last year, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The average value of a home in Gravesham – the borough in which Gravesend sits, as its largest town and main administrative centre – accelerated by 3.6% in April. This contributed to an increase of over 7% in the last 12 months.
The average property in the area sold for £288,377, an uplift of more than £60,000 on the average UK house price of £226,906.
Despite a recent slowdown in London and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and interest rates, property prices in the South East rose by 3.5% in the last year, up to £324,530.
The data - which comes from the House Price Index, compiled using house sale information from the Land Registry - showed that the average homeowner in Gravesham has seen their property leap in value by approximately £103,000 in the last five years.
In addition, the figures revealed that first-time buyers in Gravesham in April spent an average of £251,238 – about £90,000 more than it would have cost them five years ago.
Meanwhile, between January and December last year some 1,359 homes were sold in Gravesham, 2% fewer than the previous year. Brexit uncertainty – which has made buyers and sellers wary – could be playing a part in that.
Overall, though, the picture for sellers in the Gravesham and Gravesend areas is a positive one, with a considerable rise in property prices in recent times and demand remaining strong.
It helps that Gravesend is a prominent part of the London commuter belt. It is, in fact, one of the main commuter hotspots, largely thanks to its excellent transport links. The arrival of HS1 in 2009 gave a massive boost to Gravesend, with a journey time of just 24 minutes to London St Pancras International becoming the norm.
It’s also well known for its literary associations, its connection with the famous river it sits astride, its shopping prowess and a number of key landmarks – ranging from the world’s oldest cast iron pier to an iconic clock tower and Windmill Hill.
What’s more, despite the increases in property prices, it’s still more affordable than London or its outskirts – which means Gravesend benefits from what is known as the ‘ripple effect’. This is where people priced out of London look elsewhere for more affordable properties and a better work-life balance, and in turn push up the prices in the area they move to as demand starts to soar.
Ongoing regeneration, with plans to transform the town’s Heritage Quarter, is expected to increase Gravesend’s appeal to all types of buyers in the coming years. The plans, which have been 15 years in the making, have been beset by delays, issues and opposition, but the bid to give Gravesend’s town centre a makeover took a major step forward in June this year when Gravesham council signed a deal with Reef Group which will see the company develop the Heritage Quarter.
This means the £120 million project has been bought from previous developers Edinburgh House, who had originally planned to start work in 2016. Now, though, Reef Group will work with the council to deliver new homes, shops and restaurants, as well a cinema and a hotel.
The redevelopment is expected to create 1,000 jobs and invigorate Gravesend’s economy. Towns with thriving economies, good job opportunities and modern, stylish centres with food, drink, leisure and shopping facilities aplenty are likely to have significant appeal to buyers.
The revitalisation of the town centre, with a boutique cinema, restaurants and improvements to the St George’s Shopping Centre, should increase Gravesend’s reputation as a place to live, work and commute from.
There are still no guarantees about when the development will start in earnest, though, with planning permission for the Western Quarter having already expired and permission for the Eastern Quarter set to run out next year. The signed deal with Reef Group, however, does seem to have brought the regeneration of the Heritage Quarter a small step closer.
With the heatwave finally starting to cool, offering us all some much-needed relief, buyers may be more encouraged to get out and about viewing homes. While the sweltering conditions seem to be behind us, it’s still set to be very pleasant in the next few weeks and, as a seller, you should seek to take advantage of that.
What’s more, it won’t be long until the kids are back at school and everyone has returned from their holidays abroad. September/October is typically one of the busiest times for buying and selling, with a post-summer boom in demand and many sellers looking to put their homes on the market.
It may be worth your while getting in ahead of the competition, to ensure your home receives more exposure before the competition becomes fiercer. What’s more, when a greater number of people start searching for properties in late August/early September, your home will be one of the first ones they see.
If you are looking to sell your home, here at Balgores Property we have the expertise and local knowledge to help you achieve your goals.
You can find out more about our work in Gravesend here. To find out how much your home could be worth in the current marketplace, you can request a free and instant online valuation.