Hitchin to London commuting at all time high
MORE Londoners are selling up their homes and moving to Hitchin, as figures show that the number of people communting from the town into the capital is at an all time high.
First Capital Connect said that it had seen a seven per cent year-on-year increase in people buying monthly and annual train passes between the two places, with most of those thought to be people commuting into work from Hitchin.
The town has also been recently featured in The Telegraph as one of the top commuter towns in the country.
And estate agents have told the Comet that people are selling their properties in London and moving to Hitchin, with more people doing so this year than ever before.
“We see significant numbers of people coming from out of London to buy in Hitchin, in particular for the middle to high-end of the market,” said Morag Norgan, from Norgans Estate Agents and Lettings.
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“I think it’s about them wanting to have a change of lifestyle. Many people come to Hitchin to visit friends and end up wanting to live here. It’s a good location, has got good schools and has a vibrant town centre. It ticks many boxes for many people.
“In half an hour, you can be in central London, and somebody who’s living in the northern outskirts of London is going to be doing that anyway.”
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Mrs Norgan also said that house prices were increasing in particular parts of Hitchin.
“We have rising prices in pockets of Hitchin,” she added.
“Victorian and Edwardian properties are very popular, as are places within walking distance of the train station.”
The demand for housing in the town outstrips supply, with average house prices higher than neighbouring Stevenage and Letchworth GC.
Daniel Peacock, branch manager at Hitchin Connells Estate Agents, said that house prices in Hitchin were bucking a national trend.
“Over the last year, we have had more people [buying property] from London and St Albans than before,” he told the Comet.
“The train station is key - the fast train takes 25 minutes to get into London. If that wasn’t there, we’d probably be struggling more.
“Hitchin is in its own little world. We do alright round here, Nationally, it’s the opposite.”
First time buyer Mike Roberts, 26, has just bought a house in Hitchin. He was looking for a property in the town for five months.
“The last house we looked at went to another purchaser on a best and final offer basis, selling two per cent above the asking price - a six per cent increase above 2007 price,” he said.
“Hitchin seems to be increasingly recognised as a fantastic location for commuters, as an attractive market town offering great restaurants, bars and other amenities, a mainline railway station and yet set in the middle of the Hertfordshire countryside.
“Houses circa �250,000 seem to be breaking through the price barrier of the stamp duty threshold, which is a real indication of the demand. When the market really starts to improve, I think prices will move up in line with St Albans.”
A report published by Action For Market Towns in 2010 estimated that demand will only further increase, with house prices rising at a greater rate than incomes.