2020 was a strange year for buyers and sellers as priorities changed and the housing market spent months frozen due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Much of Hertfordshire has seen the benefit of people working from home as people swap working in the capital for more space and greener pastures to enjoy.
That has been reflected in how house prices have changed over the last 12 months, with much of the county seeing slight rises in value despite the ongoing pandemic.
We analysed the Zoopla estimates for some of our county’s biggest towns to see where the most significant changes have been.
The latest figures suggest that, unsurprisingly, most demand has been in the towns a bit further out from London, with the only decreases in value coming in areas near to the border with the capital.
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However, with the Stamp Duty holiday due to end on March 31, there may be time for someone to pick up a sizeable saving if they’re confident they’ll be commuting again at some point in the future.
There’s also a premium being placed on green space, with Harpenden properties seeing a rise of almost £70,000 in their average price.
That being said, there have been no major fluctuations, showing just how desirable Hertfordshire remains.
The biggest drops in value
The following towns saw the biggest slide in property value last year.
Average house price: £414,507 – down 2.77 per cent (£11,792)
Perhaps as a large town, buyers would rather move slightly further out for larger properties and bigger gardens, rather than connections into London.
Having a large shopping centre, football stadium and countless restaurants hasn’t brought the benefit it usually does this year, suggesting buyers may have been staying away.
Also, the average value is still lower than in many Herts towns so the savings on the Stamp Duty cut have also been slightly smaller. This may have also meant buyers haven’t had Watford at the front of their minds as they normally would.
That being said, it’s a relatively small drop, so it’s definitely not the case that people are abandoning Watford, Hertfordshire, entirely.
Average house price: £363,709 – down 1.95 per cent (£7,228)
Hoddesdon and Broxbourne may be suffering from the same issues by being close to the London border.
This is an even smaller drop, so sellers won’t be too concerned yet with hopes that before the end of the summer some normality should have returned.
For buyers, it means it remains one of the most affordable places in Hertfordshire to move to and still offers links to London and elsewhere.
So it could be a promising option.
The biggest increases
The following areas saw their average property prices increase notably in 2020.
Average house price: £872,214 – up 8.48 per cent (£68,217)
It was one of Hertfordshire’s most expensive areas anyway, but Harpenden has seen another big jump in house prices this year.
It’s not much of a surprise with an incredible balance between green space and connections to both St Albans and London.
There are also plenty of high quality schools and the community spirit is often praised by its residents, so for those who have reassessed what matters beyond the office, it makes sense – if you can afford it.
Welwyn Garden City
Average house price: £383,810 – up 6.96 per cent (£24,970)
We’ve already written positively about Welwyn Garden City in the past for commuters as one of the most attractive towns in our county, with big names in the Howard Centre as well as great connections into London.
For the price it definitely punches above its weight, so it’s no surprise that the average price has increased this year as people think about moving further afield.
Just remember not to call it Welwyn.
Here’s the full list of major towns in our county and how prices have changed in the last 12 months:
Harpenden – Current average house price: £872,214 (Up 8.48 per cent – £68,217)
Welwyn Garden City – Current average house price: £383,810 (Up 6.96 per cent – £24,970)
Rickmansworth – Current average house price: £752,037 (Up 6.70 per cent – £47,404)
Hemel Hempstead – Current average house price: £382,965 (up 6.57 per cent – £23,619)
Stevenage – Current average house price: £304,091 (Up 6.30 per cent – £18,021)
St Albans – Current average house price: £576,358 (Up 4.56 per cent – £25,120)
Hatfield – Current average house price: £429,725 (Up 4.65 per cent – £19,100)
Hitchin – Current average house price: £421,326 (Up 4 per cent – £16,203)
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Tring – Current average house price: £527,081 (Up 2.79 per cent -£14,286)
Borehamwood – Current average house price: £481,633 (Up 1.44 per cent – £3,990)
Hertford – Current average house price: £494,263 (Up 0.21 per cent – £1,050)
Berkhamsted – Current average house price: £679,986 (Up 0.07 per cent – £440)
Hoddesdon – Current average house price: £363,709 (Down 1.95 per cent – £7,228)
Watford – Current average house price: £414,507 (Down 2.77 per cent – £11,792)