The abolition of Severn bridge tolls is fuelling big house price rises on the Welsh side
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Newport, Monmouthshire and Torfaen have seen some of the biggest price rises in the UK.
House prices in the three local authorities closest to the two Severn bridges have rocketed since last year’s announcement that tolls are being abolished.
Since last summer the average house sales in Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen has increased by 13.2%.
That’s over four times more than the average for the whole of the UK, according to new figures from the Land Registry and analysed by online estate agents Housesimple.com.
Monmouthshire and Newport, the closest local authorities to the Severn bridges, are two of the fastest growing property markets in the UK with rises of 14% and 13.7% respectively.
Torfaen, which is just 34 minutes from the Second Crossing, which was recently renamed the Prince of Wales Bridge, have seen property prices boom 11.9% in the past year.
By contrast, the average house prices in the three local authorities in England closest to the bridge, have gone up just 3.1% over the past 12 months.
Tolls on both bridges were abolished on December 17th 2018.
According to Housesimple.com research, average house prices across the 10 local authorities of south east Wales are £161,948 compared to £300,946 – almost 50% cheaper – than in the three local authorities in England that are closest to the bridge.
Tow authorities, Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr Tydfil, both within an hour of the Severn bridges, have some of the cheapest property prices in the UK.
Average house prices in Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr Tydfil are £87,546 and £102,503 respectively.
While Bridgend stands out as the only local authority in the south east of Wales where average house prices have fallen since the toll announcement, down 1.1% over the past 12 months.
Sam Mitchell, chief executive of HouseSimple.com, said: “The toll was always a massive barrier to attracting businesses and commuters across the bridge into Wales.
“It was a gravy train for the UK Government but a car crash for the local economy. Lifting the charge will lift a huge black cloud that has been hanging over the south east of Wales, which is set to benefit more than any other area.
“The impact of the announcement back in the summer of 2017 was immediate, as local property markets saw a boost in demand.
“From December this year, there will be obvious economic benefits to businesses and commuters relocating to this area of Wales, and local housing markets have been stirred into life.
“Newport is currently one of the UK’s most buoyant housing markets. Average prices are up almost 14% and it’s not hard to see why. The average price of a property in Newport is £100,000 less than Bristol, its counterpart on the other side of the bridge.
For the average wage earner in Bristol, property prices are already unaffordable; in Newport, they are still within reach.
“We are likely to see a rise in people relocating from England to Wales to take advantage of lower property prices, with the extra commuting time easily compensated by the savings they can make.
“Regional economies should feel the benefits, but there might also be little pain for local people. An influx of wealthier buyers from outside the area could well push property prices up to unattainable levels. The key for local councils will be ensuring that property markets in the future accommodate everyone, not just the wealthy few.