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5 December, 2018 - 11:12 By Kate Sweeney

Technology to lift Cambridgeshire housing market

A jobs surge in the life science, healthcare and technology sectors will boost the housing market in Cambridge and its hinterland, experts from property consultancy Savills predict.

They remain cautiously optimistic over the future of the Cambridgeshire housing market despite the political uncertainty caused by Brexit.

At a recent research event Ed Meyer, who heads up the residential team at Savills Cambridge office, outlined recent local trends and looked ahead to 2019. 

While he admitted 2018 had been a challenging year he said the creation of thousands of new jobs and the presence of major employers such as Amazon, AstraZeneca, the universities and Addenbrooke’s and Papworth hospitals, along with large levels of new global investment, were reason to be positive moving into 2019 and beyond.

Currently 30 per cent of Savills buyers in Cambridge work in health and education and a further 21 per cent work in science, technology and media. Meyer said: “There’s no doubt that the last year has been difficult. Political and economic uncertainty has impacted on consumer confidence which alongside rising interest rates and increased taxation has prompted a slowdown.

“But properties are still selling. The demand is there. We’re seeing huge interest in city properties and for homes in villages with good amenities such as Great Shelford and Impington.

“What’s interesting is that as well as the traditional pull factors such as great schools and connectivity to London, we’re now also seeing a greater importance attached to lifestyle.

“Buyers want to make their lives that little bit easier and where both parents work they want to be able to walk their children to school and have a shorter commute. They also want homes that require less looking after because they just don’t have the time for regular maintenance.”

Around 60 guests attended the recent Home Truths event. They also heard from Gaby Foord, an analyst with Savills residential research team, who said house prices in Cambridge had risen by an average of 64 per cent over the last decade, while in Cambridgeshire as a whole they had increased by 35 per cent. This compares to an East of England increase of 39 per cent and a national increase of 23 per cent.

Although the market has slowed, she said Savills is forecasting house prices in prime markets within an hour commute of London, such as Cambridge, will increase by 10.9 per cent over the next five years.

Meyer continued: “There’s plenty of reason to be positive. Obviously no one knows exactly what will happen – but we remain cautiously optimistic.

“According to Oxford Economics, employment in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire could reach 76,600 in the next five years while the level of investment we have received – £7.87bn by half year alone in 2018 – is unprecedented. You compare that to Oxford which has had £750m in the last five years and we are streets ahead.

“Government initiatives such as Help to Buy and changes to tax relief for buy to let properties – so there are fewer property investors competing in the market – also appear to be tempting more first time buyers onto the property ladder.

“All this makes for encouraging reading and will help underpin a healthy market, ensuring there are more buyers percolating up the housing chain.”

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Gaby Foord (left), Savills Residential Analyst, with Ed Meyer, Head of the Residential Department at Savills Cambridge office

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