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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi,

I was recently looking at property prices in UK mainly through rightmove.co.uk . I quite like the fact that you can browse properties in UK as well in the rest of Europe. Then it became quite obvious that properties in UK are no way reasonable. The value for money is quite low.

I was comparing a 3-bedroom-detached-house around 3~5 miles away from the famous Brighton with the even more famous Cannes or Nice (France). You get prices 20~30% more expensive in UK (and I am kind).

Then I choose the wide area of Portsmouth, because of the easy access to France. Nothing famous about it, right? Comparing with the area of Le Mans or Tours (deep French countryside) where I am from, prices are something like 50% less in France. You are in the middle of the Loire wines, Loire castles and good gastronomie. You could easily find properties with 5000+ m2 of land !!

Then you start comparing with Spain or Portugal but the comparison might not be fair for now.
I could not find a satisfying reason to my wife to justify such high prices. Why properties are so expensive in UK ? I am not talking about London where investors from all around the world can boost prices up. Why in proper British countryside too prices are crazy ?

Thanks
 

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Property prices are nation-specific so you can't make a simple international comparison. What determine house prices in UK are market forces - what someone is prepared to buy a particular property for (offer) and what the seller is willing to accept.
Some of the factors that support competitive housing market here include a high ratio of owner-occupiers (70%), much higher than in many other European countries like France (50%) and Germany (40%), where majority of people still rent. Lack of housing in certain areas, esp in attractive villages and prime housing areas, which has something to do with strict planning laws and the green belt, restricting housing development. And until the recent downturn in economy, ready availability of affordable mortgages even for younger people. And tax system that supports home ownership (no wealth tax and exemption from capital gains tax for own homes).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, it starts to make sense.
Seems that there is a clear internal migration to the south of England. Shortage of offer and increasing demand are pushing prices up and it may continue for a while.
The ratio of owner-occupiers I found are close to yours (68% for UK and 57% for France). I am quite surprised of such high figures for UK. I had the feeling that mortgages were quite difficult to get and demanding for huge deposits.

I am still confused. The 10% gap between the 2 figures is still quite low to explain such price difference. It might have to do with density ? (257.23p/km2 in UK against 118.82 in 2010). Too much demand on the same huge area of southern England ?
Similar cases of attractive villages and prime housing areas being on shortage also exist in France but why so much in UK !
In the other hand, Spain's ratio of owner-occupiers is 83.3%. Obviously a worse economy would be the reason but a high ratio would suppose a shortage of properties. Spanish may have currently no will to buy and migration might be very low ?

Many Thanks
 

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Each country has its unique set of factors so direct comparison as I've said is difficult. There is a clear North-South divide and where I live, in the North West England, properties are a lot cheaper, often half or less. It's to do with relative prosperity and income levels.
Also many people in England aged 40 and up, given choice, would rather live in a charming village than a big city (quieter, better place to bring up kids), and the paucity of available property and planning restriction (local councils don't want more villages becoming commuter land) means high prices. In France, the population is more evenly spread with few large conurbations whereas in UK, population is heavily concentrated in South East England where the demand and price of housing is highest.
 

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Hi,

I was recently looking at property prices in UK mainly through rightmove.co.uk . I quite like the fact that you can browse properties in UK as well in the rest of Europe. Then it became quite obvious that properties in UK are no way reasonable. The value for money is quite low.

I was comparing a 3-bedroom-detached-house around 3~5 miles away from the famous Brighton with the even more famous Cannes or Nice (France). You get prices 20~30% more expensive in UK (and I am kind).

Then I choose the wide area of Portsmouth, because of the easy access to France. Nothing famous about it, right? Comparing with the area of Le Mans or Tours (deep French countryside) where I am from, prices are something like 50% less in France. You are in the middle of the Loire wines, Loire castles and good gastronomie. You could easily find properties with 5000+ m2 of land !!

Then you start comparing with Spain or Portugal but the comparison might not be fair for now.
I could not find a satisfying reason to my wife to justify such high prices. Why properties are so expensive in UK ? I am not talking about London where investors from all around the world can boost prices up. Why in proper British countryside too prices are crazy ?

Thanks
There are many factors but one of the biggest is population density. The UK is much more densely populated than France. There are 660 people per square mile on average in the UK but only 295 people per square mile on average in France. A higher population density means more competition for everything. The numbers are even more striking if you look just at England which is much more densely populated than other parts of the UK. The south east of England is more densely populated than the rest of England.
 

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As Mary states, the over population as been a huge factor. Just like Manhattan, you'll find the prices high but don't think as high as Paris.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you very much.
Finally regional density and ratio of owner-occupiers are making sense. As Joppa mentioned, my image of density (excluding world class cities) is an evenly spread population as France.
I did not imagine such huge gap between north and south. Where would you put the border between low and high density in England ? I was living in the West Midlands, not far from Coventry, and prices did not seem to be that cheap either there for value.
I will try to find a density map of UK and particularly England.
Thanks again
 

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Population density is one factor, but a sparsely-populated area like the Lake District, also in the North, has very high house prices because of great popularity for second homes and lack of property because of restrictions imposed by local councils and national park authorities.
Another factor is income levels. While in SE England, average pay may be around £30,000 a year (more in London), here in Lancashire it's more like £15,000 to £17,000 a year (so below the income level needed to sponsor an immigrant), putting ceiling on property values, esp at the lower end (starter homes, small terraced houses etc, which can be had from £50,000-60,000 depending on location).
 

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Thank you very much.
Finally regional density and ratio of owner-occupiers are making sense. As Joppa mentioned, my image of density (excluding world class cities) is an evenly spread population as France.
I did not imagine such huge gap between north and south. Where would you put the border between low and high density in England ? I was living in the West Midlands, not far from Coventry, and prices did not seem to be that cheap either there for value.
I will try to find a density map of UK and particularly England.
Thanks again
England 'is world's sixth most crowded country: High rate of immigration blame for population surge | Mail Online
 

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I live in the south of England, inbetween Brighton and Portsmouth and my take on house prices is that the employment and the density means that people want to live there. Spain used to be as expensive, but then the bubble burst on the house market and prices are still falling there - no work, so no one able to buy. The UK has historically been a nation of home owners. Prices rise while there are folk prepared to pay, then they will continue to do so. Supply and demand

Jo xxx
 

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I live in the south of England, inbetween Brighton and Portsmouth and my take on house prices is that the employment and the density means that people want to live there. Spain used to be as expensive, but then the bubble burst on the house market and prices are still falling there - no work, so no one able to buy. The UK has historically been a nation of home owners. Prices rise while there are folk prepared to pay, then they will continue to do so. Supply and demand

Jo xxx
I wouldn't say that the UK has historically been a nation of home owners. In 1918 the home ownership rate was only 23%. It only reached 50% in 1971.

The rate actually fell between 2001 and 2011 from 69% to 64%. The first fall in 100 years.

Home ownership falls for first time in a century - Telegraph
 

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Yes the North is significantly cheaper than the South, the South East especially. Cities like Manchester, and York are really quite nice (for different reasons) and you would be spending a lot less than in places such as Brighton.

Renting is also considerably cheaper, especially in Northern cities. In Leeds, for example, you could rent some houses from as little as £50 a week. Would you consider renting in one place for a short-term period and then looking around cities once you were familiar with them?
 
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