Severn Bridge toll reduction makes Newport the fastest-moving property market in UK

The South Wales city of Newport has been identified as Britain’s fastest-moving property market, with the average length of time it takes to find a buyer in the city having dropped by nearly a third over the past year.

The increasing number of new-builds, easy transport links and most notably, the scrapping of the Severn Crossing tolls have all been given as reasons for the quickened pace.

Property website Rightmove looked at how local housing markets have changed over the past year, including the number of properties available and the number of days it takes to secure a buyer to make the findings.

It found that in Newport, the average time it takes to secure a buyer for a property has fallen from 76 to 52 days – a 32% drop. Average house prices have also increased by 7% (around £12,000) to reach £175,944

The Severn Crossings has served commuters driving between Wales and England for over 50 years, with around 25 million journeys across the River Severn bridges, including the M48 Severn Bridge and the M4 Second Severn Crossing, taking place each year.

The bridge tolls have now been reduced to £5.60 for cars and up to £16.70 for larger vehicles, but once they are scrapped at the end of 2018, commuting will be even easier with driving over the bridge becoming a more viable choice – potentially saving commuters around £1,400 per year.

For Bristolians, the city of Newport has become an increasingly attractive option for commuters and those in need of an affordable family home. For example, in Newport you can buy a large detached family property for around the same price as a small terraced home in Bristol. The latest figures from HomeTrack report that the average house price in Bristol is now around £300,000. Despite Newport’s rising popularity, its average is nearly half of this at £175,944.

Neil Williams, director at Martin & Co and CJ Hole, which operates on both sides of the Severn, has already seen a number of buyers priced out of Bristol. He believes the scrapping of the bridge tolls will increase the number of people moving across the water. “We have seen an influx of landlords and investors buying properties as they can still achieve good yields compared to Bristol, and I believe the scrapping of the tolls will increase demand substantially to many Bristol buyers especially younger buyers and those on lower incomes who were put off by the tolls,” said Mr Williams.

Rightmove’s Miles Shipside said the demand in Newport was clearly taking its toll on the number of properties estate agents have available to offer buyers, making it “very much a sellers’ market in Newport right now”.

Estate agent Nathan James Reeks expects that within the next six to nine months “you won’t be able to get a property for under £250,000 within a 10-mile radius of the bridges”.

Here are the top 10 fastest-moving property markets identified by Rightmove:

  1. Newport, Wales
  2. Oldham, North West
  3. Scunthorpe, Yorkshire and the Humber
  4. Rochdale, North West
  5. Leigh, North West
  6. Wrexham, Wales
  7. Southport, North West
  8. Colwyn Bay, Wales
  9. Dewsbury, Yorkshire and the Humber
  10. Birkenhead, North West

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