Rail strikes set rent on wrong track

Frustrating for existing residents, it seems that the ongoing rail strikes blighting the South of England are starting to have an impact on potential new commuters from the area too.

The rental price growth in the areas affected by the Southern Rail strikes, namely Surrey, Sussex and Kent, have seen a slowing-down of prices, with the most significant drop (in Surrey) falling from 1.2% growth in the first six months of 2016 to a drop of -0.02% growth in the second half of the year.

Other areas also saw a plummet, with East Sussex (0.26% to 0.15%), West Sussex (0.24% to 0.19%), Kent (0.27% to 0.19%) and Milton Keynes (0.34% to 0.17%) all seeing drops in the same period.

The only major region that has bucked the trend was Brighton and Hove, which despite being served by Southern Rail, saw rental growth increase very slightly from 0.24% in the first half of 2016 to 0.26%.

The research, by Landbay, suggests that should the strikes continue, the misery for commuters and landlords could prove a positive for tenants. The lender estimates that landlords in this area will eventually have to consider limiting rent increases, or ultimately cutting rents in order to combat the drop in demand. The strikes, which have been ongoing since July 2016 are showing no sign of abating, with only 70% of Southern Rail trains running today.

Rental prices along the Southern Rail network haven’t plummeted just yet, but these figures do suggest that it is beginning to have an impact on local property markets. With disruption expected to continue, people will begin to re-evaluate the criteria when it comes to renting – whether that be distance from London or reliable transport links.

John Goodall, chief executive and co-founder of Landbay

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