Daily Mail: Does a Waitrose boost house prices?
Mon 29 Apr 2013
By Becky Barrow
IF you are looking to buy a home, an area with good transport links, decent schools and low crime usually tops the wish list.
But homebuyers might also want to find out if there are any plans to open a Waitrose in the neighbourhood.
A branch of the upmarket store near your home could boost prices by up to 50 per cent, according to estate agents.
They examined how the cost of homes with a Waitrose in the same postcode compared to those in the rest of the same county.
The verdict was that the typical price of properties with a nearby branch was 25.3 per cent higher. For example, a home in Amersham, which has a neighbourhood Waitrose, typically costs 456,000, while the average for Buckinghamshire is 360,000.
The situation is even more extreme in London, where a local branch can add an astonishing 50.3 per cent to average prices.
'Our analysis identifies a very clear house price premium in Waitrose store locations,' said Sophie Chick, a research analyst at Savills, which carried out the study. 'It is difficult to state with certainty that a Waitrose opening will boost prices. But it is clear that buyers should expect to pay significantly more for their home if they wish to have a store on their doorstep.'
She looked at Waitrose braches which have opened in the past five years and house prices in the same 'postcode district'. These are locations which share the same first half of a postcode, such as SW3 or GU7.
Miss Chick admitted there was 'no real answer' to whether Waitrose 'gentrifies' areas or if the chain only opens in areas which are already upmarket and so more expensive.
The findings come as figures from the Land Registry showed that house prices in London are rising by 90 a day. But, in stark contrast, they are falling in most other towns and cities, including Birmingham, Bradford, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester. In the capital, the average home costs 374,568 after jumping 9.6 per cent in the last year. That is equal to an increase of 32,809 since March last year.
Of propertiesselling for more than 1million in England and Wales, roughly two-thirds were in London. Around 13 homes every day change hands for more than 1million in the capital, according to the Land Registry.
In Liverpool, house prices fell 4 per cent since March last year. The average home used to cost 93,514 but its value dropped to 89,974, a fall of 3,540 or nearly 10 a day. In Middlesborough, prices fell 16.5 per cent.
Overall, the Land Registry said the average house price in England and Wales is 161,793, up 0.9 per cent over the last year.
Peter Rollings, chief executive of estate agency Marsh & Parsons said the capital continued 'to operate inanother realm'.
Giles Hannah, managing director of upmarket estate agancy VanHan said: 'International buyers, particularly from Asia, are fuelling demand.' He said a weak pound meant they could reap big discounts on prices.