Kent Property Market Report sees highest rate of house price growth in Dover

Despite the impact of the pandemic, economic uncertainty of Brexit, and the end of the Stamp Duty holiday, Kent’s residential housing market has outperformed the UK and South East, with average prices rising by nearly six per cent in a year.

The 30th edition of the Kent Property Market Report, produced by Caxtons Chartered Surveyors, Kent County Council and Locate in Kent, suggests the intense pace of activity in the county’s housing market has continued over the last year.

According to figures calculated for the report by Zoopla, Kent house prices increased by 5.8 per cent over the last 12 months, up from the average annual increase of 3.4 per cent over the last five years.

The highest rates of growth of 6.7 per cent were experienced in Canterbury and Dover, where average house prices reached £327,500 and £266,800 respectively. At an average price of £490,000 Sevenoaks continues to be the most expensive place to live in Kent, with the most competitive being Medway with an average of £258,700.

Ron Roser, Chairman of Caxtons, which has offices across Kent, said: “The pandemic has had an unexpected, but positive, impact on the Kent residential market. On average, prices in Kent rose by nearly six per cent by the end of the second quarter, well ahead of 2020 levels.

“As a result, the gap in values between Kent and the rest of the South East has narrowed, but the county remains, on average, a relatively more affordable location than the home counties as a whole.”

Roger Gough, Leader of Kent County Council, added: “The strength of the housing market over the last 18 months has been one of the more unexpected outcomes of this difficult pandemic period.

“The acceleration of home working has refocused families and businesses. It has the potential to strengthen local communities and economies and this is a positive consequence from a dreadful period. The prospect of a reinvigorated focus on community provides a solid springboard for the new villages being created across the county, which will be so important to Kent’s future economic development.”

The first anxious months of lockdown and construction site closures are now a distant memory in the market and the end of the Stamp Duty holiday earlier this summer presented some concern, but the market has continued to thrive.

With a shortage of properties for sale, the new homes sector has seen frantic levels of activity in many areas. While homebuyers continue to focus on houses, affordability has driven pragmatism in a challenging market: younger buyers are more comfortable with city or town centre flats, particularly as pandemic restrictions have subsided and the benefits of urban living have returned.

With buyers demanding greater space in terms of gardens and separate work areas, there has been an increase in demand for – and prices of – homes in Kent. Compared with the South East average, the county remains more affordable in relative terms, although this disparity has narrowed.

Price growth has been driven in parts of the county by existing and in-mover households seeking homes in a market with a dearth of supply. The commuter districts of Dartford and Gravesham saw a relatively slower pace of growth, although this follows strong price increases in the years prior to the pandemic.

High levels of sale combined with price growth have brought forward the construction of some new-build sites and phases of longer-term residential schemes. With depleted stocks, housebuilders are seeking to replenish land banks, driving up land values across the county, and focusing on sites with the benefit of planning, particularly for houses. 

The report was unveiled on 4 November to more than 300 guests at a virtual event, which included keynote speeches by Cathy Parker, Co-Chair of Manchester Metropolitan University and Research Lead for High Streets Task Force, and Lisa Carlson, Chair of the Association of Town & City Management. 

The Kent Property Market Report is supported by Cripps Pemberton Greenish, DHA Planning, Hollaway Studio, MHA Macintyre Hudson and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). 

Posted on 05/11/2021