Since lockdown began, it's seemingly been a case of if – not when – house prices would drop. And while we haven't seen any big crashes yet, there is one part of the country that might be about to buck the trend.
Birmingham-based estate agent, Barrows and Forrester, has been studying the West Midlands property market, and has – perhaps surprisingly – found pockets if the region where house prices are destined to rise.
The reason? Two new transport upgrades – an extension of Birmingham's Metro line and a new regional autonomous vehicle route.
The latest Birmingham property hotspots
Four new Metro stations are on the way. One is already under construction at Five Ways (in the B15 postcode), while New Canal Street, Meriden Street and High Street Deritend (all in the B5 postcode) have been earmarked for future line development.
Based on Nationwide figures, which suggest living within 750 metres of a station can add 6 per cent to house prices, average prices could rise from £229,100 to £242,846.
In the B5 postcode, prices are forecast to jump from £207,216 to £219,649. That's a tidy profit of £12,433.
So if you are looking to get on the property ladder in the Birmingham area, these are definitely the areas to target.
'As our research shows, there is already a notable gap between property prices in areas already serviced by the Metro and those due to join the network,' says Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester
'Our advice to savvy buyers would be to buy at a lower price point along with a soon to be completed extension, as this will ensure the convenience of a good transport link without paying through the nose, while almost certainly seeing the value of your investment climb over the coming years.'
The latest West Midlands property hotspots
But it isn’t just the extention of the Metro that could help boost house prices. A new 300km autonomous vehicle route, where self-driving cars can drive, is being planned in the region.
The route will meander through Birmingham and Coventry, through urban and suburban areas, and Barrows & Foster's James Forrester predicts that it's going to have a positive effect on house prices in the area.
'Currently, house prices along the route due to benefit from the service sit at an average of £232,212,' he explains. 'But this could climb to £246,145 due to the availability of upgraded transport links.'
According the the research, homeowners in Meriden will see the biggest house price rises, with a potential jump of £20,000. This pretty village hotspot is closely followed by the villages of Curdworth and Baginton, with predicted increases of £19,000 and £18,000 respectively.
We're relieved to see it's not all doom and gloom on the property market!
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Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.
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