by Jonny Stevens on 15th October 2018
Bristol and Newport are both 29 minutes by car from the Severn Bridge, but when it comes to property prices, they are worlds apart. Average house prices in Bristol, on the English side of the bridge, are £308,128, more than £130,000 or 74% pricier than in Newport (£177,158), on the Welsh side, according to our research.
But since July 2017, when it was announced that the Severn Bridge, which connects England and Wales, would become toll-free by the end of 2018, it is the Welsh side of the bridge that has been enjoying a mini property boom.
According to Land Registry figures, since it was announced that the toll charge would be scrapped, average property prices across the three local authorities closest to the Severn Bridge on the Welsh side - Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen - have risen 8.2% , almost three times faster than average prices have increased across the UK*.
And in Newport, which is one of the few cities across the UK that has seen double digit price gains over the past year, house prices have risen seven times faster than in Bristol, up 11.1% between July 2017 and July 2018.
And for home buyers looking for value, the average price of a property in South East Wales makes it extremely attractive. According to Housesimple.com research, average house prices across the 10 local authorities in the south east of Wales are £155,012, compared to £295,353 across the three local authorities in England that are closest to the bridge.
And two local authorities, Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr Tydfil, both within an hour of the Severn Bridge, have some of the cheapest property prices in the UK. Average house prices in Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr Tydfil are £82,298 and £99,601 respectively.
The following table shows house price data for the 10 local authorities in Wales and the three local authorities in England closest to the Severn Bridge.
|Local Authority||Average property price (£) – July 2017||Average property price (£) – July 2018||**Driving time to Severn Bridge **||% Rise in property prices|
|Blaenau Gwent||£80,268||£82,298||58 mins||2.5%|
|Merthyr Tydfil||£95,832||£99,601||59 mins||3.9%|
|Rhondda Cynon Taf||£104,443||£110,148||1hr 2 mins||5.5%|
|Vale of Glamorgan||£207,722||£218,683||1 hr 4 mins||5.3%|
|City of Bristol||£270,151||£274,361||26 mins||1.6%|
|South Gloucestershire||£268,236||£274,248||28 mins||2.2%|
|Bath and North East Somerset||£321,971||£337,450||57 mins||4.8%|
The following table shows house price data for major towns and cities in England and Wales, that are closest to the Severn Bridge.
|Major town/city||Average property price (£) - Current||**Driving time to Severn Bridge **|
|Barry||£169,856||1 hr 1 min|
|Bath||£475,169||1hr 1 min|
Sam Mitchell, CEO of HouseSimple.com, comments: "The toll was always a massive barrier to attracting businesses and commuters across the bridge into Wales. It was a gravy train for the 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 July 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 by more than 11 per cent and it's not hard to see why. The average price of a property in Newport is £130,000 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."
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