Leading City solicitor says the ‘law of supply and demand’ is the culprit as research finds house price growth hampered by Southern Rail strikes

Rufus Ballaster, head of the Property Department at leading City law firm, Carter Lemon Camerons LLP, has attributed slower house price growth around stations served by Southern Rail to the ‘law of supply and demand’, as persistent strikes hamper local demand.

Rufus Ballaster

His comments follow research by the property website, eMoov, which found that average house prices near to stations served by Southern Rail lines have increased at just half the rate of the national average, as commuters have been hit by a series of strikes.

Rufus said: “House prices are affected by lots of things but the three top issues, famously, are location, location and location.

“Conveyancing searches are used to provide information on the historical use of that general location in case that brings environmental risk; similarly planning application history for the property itself and – with a different search at additional cost – surrounding properties can be ascertained from public records.”

He pointed out that searches also tell of major infrastructure projects, but they do not currently extend to providing information on likely commuting journeys and the history – let alone projected future – of efficiency or disruption to public transport.

Rufus said: “It has been well documented that parts of the country are badly affected by industrial action and other parts by soil erosion or other disruption to rail services. A short sharp shock type of problem is unlikely to adversely to affect house prices – though it might reduce volume for the problem period – but a prolonged, highly publicised issue can filter through to dent owner occupier or buy-to-let appetite.”

He added: “Fewer buyers – worried about commuting difficulties – and increased numbers of sellers – trying to relocate for a better experience to and from work – will undoubtedly mean lower house prices. It is a basic application of the ‘law of supply and demand’ at work in the housing market.”