Homes selling in hours as demand from London influx sparks shortage

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Local couples hoping to upgrade are facing million-pound prices as the property market in Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding areas is revealed to be ‘one of the hottest on record’.

Homes are selling within a week or even hours of going on the market. Previously sales might have taken several months.

The clamour for properties in Tunbridge Wells comes after house prices in the Borough have increased by more than 50 per cent over the last decade.

In the last year alone they have risen on average £32,000, with the average home in the TN1 postcode now costing £535,000, according to online estate agent Zoopla.

Now estate agents have told the Times how a shortage of family homes is seeing the average family home in Tunbridge Wells selling within a week, with some selling in a matter of days, and even hours.

Deborah Richards, who run Maddisons Residential on The Pantiles, said the average selling time for a family home in Tunbridge Wells is now seven days.

“From the time a house is available to view, we begin fielding offers over the next few days, and I’d say from end to end you are looking at a week to make the sale,” she said.

“In some cases, we are selling above the asking price or having to take sealed bids because we get so many offers.”

But people living in the area looking to upsize now face ‘eyewatering mortgages’ estate agents admit, as demand for living in and around Tunbridge Wells increases.

“I feel very sorry for the youngsters. I regularly see people with a £650,000 mortgage now say they want more space, or somewhere to park their car, but they are going to be looking at a million pounds,” said Deborah Richards, who added that much of the demand is being driven by Londoners.

“Typically, Londoners have liked moving to the area around The Pantiles or St John’s, but we are seeing more and more look to the villages now that commuting is no longer that important for people,” she said.

“Wadhurst is now very popular, as are Frant, Penshurst and Speldhurst, because you get more bang for your buck in those areas, more space and larger gardens.”

Bradley Mackintosh, of Southborough-based Flying Fish, has seen similar demand, which he also says is being driven by a four-fold increase in the number of Londoners buying homes in the town.

He said: “Properties have been going really quickly, and it’s the same message across the board. The issue is there is really low stock of family homes, due to Londoners moving to the town.

“There’s always been an interest from Londoners, but we’ve never seen anything at this level before. It’s about three or four-fold of what we’re used to.

“The other thing is that these buyers have often been renting so they are in a strong position to buy as they don’t have to wait for a house to sell. It’s a good time to sell.”

Marc Johnson of KMJ Properties, based in Rusthall, said they have seen properties sell even before they have been advertised.

“We have had some properties sell within hours, some before they’re even advertised,” he confirmed. “Those that sell quickest are the good-sized family homes of three or four bedrooms.”

The same picture is playing out across the area.

Steve Bovis of Wood & Pilcher, whose local offices include both Tunbridge Wells and Crowborough, says it is one of the busiest times he can remember in 40 years in the business.

“It is certainly up there as one of the hottest on record,” he said.

“It has been incredible 18 months. We are running out of stock. If you have a good property and you put it on the market it will get snapped up.

“Our Crowborough branch has had an exceptional time. The demand has been amazing, whether for people coming out of city looking for a home or people wanting work from home requirements.”

He also doesn’t believe an end to the stamp duty holiday – the discount finally stops this month – will slow the local housing market.

“It is good old supply and demand. If you have to move, for whatever reason, that will still happen whether there is a stamp duty holiday or not. It will certainly be an interesting second half to the year.”

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