Million-pound homes – part 1 – where to find one
Property market coverage in the recent first edition of our Private Wealth Guide looked at some locations in Essex and Hertfordshire where homes worth over £1.5 million aren’t unusual. Places like Loughton, Brentwood and Chigwell in Essex, or Rickmansworth, Harpenden and Radlett in Herts, certainly have their share of homes in that price bracket.
It seems from our Wealth Guide figures that Herts upstages Essex at the market’s top end, but when making comparisons of this sort it’s vital to note some underlying factors that can affect wealth and property prices. For a start, there’s each county’s size. Essex covers more than twice the area of Herts, yet its population is only about 50% higher.
So, Essex is less densely populated overall; heavily developed areas in the south and west are more than offset by old market towns and villages amidst swathes of agricultural land to the north and east. Large parts of Essex are more than 50 miles from central London and miles from train stations whilst, crucially, all of Herts is well within 50 miles with multiple rail routes, and therefore the county scores heavily on valuable commutability.
A consequent belief that Herts has many million-pound homes is backed by Land Registry statistics covering the decade from 2007 to 2017. The Borough of Broxbourne, not far from our Ware office, sits among the top 10 districts outside London for their percentage increase in annual £1m-plus home sales. Essex’s rural Uttlesford District, to the north of our Harlow office, is also top-10 listed.
Looking at individual sales in Herts over the past year, several rural properties around Hitchin in North Herts have fetched between £1.5m and £3m. Across the border in Essex, a house at High Beech in Epping Forest, a couple of miles from our Loughton office, sold for £2.3m in June. Houses in nearby Epping and in West Hanningfield yielded prices above £1.5m during the same month.
We think the evidence suggests million-pound homes are rather more abundant in Herts than in Essex but, as we’ve said, these are two distinctive counties so it’s not a yardstick for measuring their relative charms. Many aspects affect the desirability of any location, including personal preference, family links and commutability to a convenient London station.