Southern Rail strikes are hitting property value growth, as Zoopla finds 91% of towns near the network have seen a price slow-down…

What’s the latest?

It isn’t just Southern Rail bosses who are counting the cost of 12 months of industrial disruption to commuter services.

Homeowners have also been affected by strike action, as new data from Zoopla reveals that house price growth in towns located along the network has slowed by two-thirds in the past year.

The biggest plunge in average property value growth has been experienced near the Harrow and Wealdstone station – down 18.5% in year-on-year growth since industrial action began.

In a further blow, riverside town Tonbridge is the slowest Southern Rail town to go under offer, with data showing it takes over two weeks longer to receive offers than the regional average

Why is this happening?

Lawrence Hall, spokesman for Zoopla, explains: “The Southern Rail strikes have been well documented over the last year and the ongoing dispute appears to have taken its toll on property values along the line.

“While values are still rising in popular commuter belt areas, albeit at a slower rate, talk of further strikes may be exacerbating the situation.”

Although growth in home values is slowing nationwide year-on-year, the South East, and specifically locations along Southern Rail lines, are slackening off at a faster rate.

Who does it affect?

Overall, 91% of towns along the network have experienced a drop in property price growth since the strikes began.

While Harrow tops the list of Southern Rail towns seeing the biggest decrease in the rate of growth, Zoopla’s data shows that the area is followed by Lewes, where growth has fallen by 16%, and Wallington, which has declined by 15.7%.

Sounds interesting. What’s the background?

Rail union RMT (Rail Maritime and Transport) recently marked the one-year anniversary of industrial action against the extension of a driver-only operation on Southern Rail.

RMT members working for the train operator have so far taken 31 days of action, citing concerns over rail safety. Train drivers’ union Aslef has also been involved in a dispute with the service’s operators over safety concerns.

Zoopla analysed year-on-year property value growth rates in towns across the Southern Rail network, comparing performance over the past 12 months – since strikes began – to the previous year.

The data showed that the rate of house price growth along the routes had decreased by an average two-thirds in the last year, down from 9.11% (April 2015 – April 2016) to 3.01% (April 2016 – April 2017).

Top 3 takeaways

  • The average property price growth along the Southern Rail route is down 6.1%
  • Lewes and Wallington have seen the biggest declines in year-on-year growth
  • Properties in the key Southern Rail commuter town of Tonbridge take 16 days longer to go under offer than the regional average

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