There's something about a Waitrose supermarket popping up that can give the local area a definite status boost; a middle class seal of approval, if you will. However, research from online estate agent eMoov.co.uk has found that there could be more to it than status alone, as having a Waitrose in your vicinity can dramatically improve house prices in your area…
The figures show that a property surrounding Waitrose stores costs an average of £456,000 – more than double the UK average of £221,254 – and that prices in a typical local area have increased by 7% over the last year. Honing in on individual areas offers an even sharper contrast: since 1955, when Waitrose opened its first supermarket in Streatham, the average house price in the area has increased by over 11,000%, and now tops £461,000, even higher than the Waitrose average.
But even this pales in comparison to the neighbourhood of Kensington in Chelsea, where the average property around the Waitrose store will set you back nearly £2.6m. Price rises are just as notable at the other end of the property spectrum, even if the overall prices aren't: properties surrounding the Waitrose store in Wolverhampton have the lowest average price of £118,000, but over the last year prices in the area have increased by 9%, compared with just 6% in Wolverhampton as a whole.
While it may come as no surprise that the close proximity of a house to sought-after amenities can help improve its price potential (previous research found that a mainstream supermarket was the second most important amenity to UK buyers, second only to a corner shop), the value placed on a Waitrose store is probably less expected. This just goes to show how beneficial the presence of a Waitrose store can be to the surrounding areas, with its image clearly rubbing off on property prices.
"In a market as competitive as the UK's, savvy home sellers will use any bargaining chip they can to justify a higher asking price," said CEO of eMoov.co.uk Russell Quirk, "and close proximity to a desirable amenity will always act as such a chip.
"Although Waitrose positions their stores in more affluent areas, it is clear that the presence of a Waitrose supermarket can influence surrounding property values in a positive manner, and in many cases can see homeowners double the price potential of their property. Waitrose is a by-word for 'well to do' and therefore for those who place a high importance on such an image, a walk to the local Waitrose justifies a higher asking price to similar nearby properties."
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