Calvin Groves, director of removal company The Small Move Company based in South Wales and South West of England takes a look at what the future holds for South Wales with the impending removal of the Severn Bridge tolls.
When you’re planning on moving house, there never seems to be a right time. Although it’s largely agreed that in Spring and Autumn you avoid the climates of Summer and the rush of Christmas, there’s always something that’s going to get affected by the total upheaval that is a house move.
If you’re planning on moving to Cardiff, Newport or elsewhere in South Wales however, there might finally be a right time – and the time is now.
Thanks in part due to major regeneration works and an increasingly positive national persona brought on by hosting the NATO summit and international sporting tournaments, house prices in Newport have been gradually on the rise over the last two decades.
Since the mid-nineties, property values in the city have increased by a huge 469%, and over the course of the last year, house prices have seen a further 5% increase.
For prospective buyers, this can be a confusing position to be in.
When the prices of houses in Newport are persistently outpacing the national averages, what should prospective buyers do?
Is now the time to get on the housing ladder before you are priced out of the market?
But the upward trajectory of the local market isn’t the only thing prospective buyers need to consider.
Why Should You Move to South Wales?
For first time buyers, Cardiff and Newport are cities of opportunity.
With major developments completed at Lysaght Village, just off Corporation Road, and Glan Llyn, a development committed to providing started homes – where more than 50% of houses on the development were purchased by first time buyers. First time buyers are given more of a priority here than in most cities.
Newport, especially, as Wales’s third largest city is one that is on the rise.
A vibrant cosmopolitan waterfront, courtesy of the Friar’s Walk regeneration and the developing bar and restaurant scene on the other side of the Usk in Clarence Place, and the city centre, have ushered in a hopeful era of transformation for the city.
Newport has also been developing its reputation internationally. Building on the back of successfully hosting major sporting events like the Ryder Cup in 2010, and events of major importance like the NATO summit in 2014, planning permission has been granted for the Wales International Convention Centre. The facility, will be the largest of its kind in Wales and the south west of England, with a holding capacity of 4,000.
Home to large employers like Admiral, the Office of National Statistics and the Celtic Manor, Newport has a wide range of employment opportunities, a high staff retention rate and a gross weekly pay of 94% of the national average.
It’s also worth mentioning that the location of Newport, within easy reach of both Cardiff and Bristol, provides excellent commuting opportunities. More than double the 79000 strong workforce of Newport commute to Cardiff and the Western parts of Bristol.
But when should you move house in, or, to Newport?
It might surprise you, but due to two major factors, the best time to move house in South Wales is right now.
Why is Now the Best Time to Move House in Cardiff & Newport?
The Brexit decision has been a cause of much instability and indecision not only across the financial market, but also the housing market.
The uncertainty it places on the year ahead may actually provide an invaluable opportunity for buyers looking in Newport.
Whilst the value of property is not going to stagnate completely, the growth of house prices will likely be notably slower and purchasing levels set to decline.
If you’re looking to buy your first home you could take advantage of lower interest rates as the market takes time to readjust to the new normal.
The Abolishment of the Severn Bridge Toll
Growing numbers of people have already moved across the border from Bristol to Wales, in an attempt to escape the fast growing housing market in Bristol.
170 people left Bristol to move to Newport in the year to June 2015, with a further 490 opting for Cardiff, 230 for Monmouthshire and 140 to Swansea.
Bristol has one of the fastest growth rates in the United Kingdom, with property prices averaging out at around £292,468 and showing no signs of slowing. In comparison, the average house price in Newport is £161,771.
The already attractive location of these Southern cities, all placed conveniently along the M4 with a relatively short commuting distance to Bristol, is only set to increase with the cutting of the toll bridge this year.
Already reduced considerably, the Severn Bridge tolls are set to be completely abolished by the end of 2018.
The removal of the toll is set to affect everything from the economy of South Wales to the motorway traffic, with the Wales Office predicting that the economy will be boosted by around £100m a year. Although these figures are currently unsubstantiated.
Currently, land and property prices are far more affordable here than in the West of England and within Bristol itself.
Not only will businesses be looking to relocate across the Severn, but homeowners too.
As first time buyers are being priced out of the Bristol housing market, places such as Magor, and Newport, which are considerably cheaper, have become a sensible alternative.
With the influx of people set to buy from across the border, inevitably driving up the demand and prices of properties in both Cardiff and Newport, if you’re looking to move to a new location in South Wales, the best time to do so, is now.