NEWPORT has the fastest moving market in the UK compared to last year, according to analysis from the property website Rightmove.

Housing experts are citing the scrapping of the Severn Bridge tolls as a big factor, with interest from buyers in Bristol causing Newport’s housing market and surrounding areas surge over the past year.

However, the fast-paced market is leading to property shortages and long waiting lists in the city, according to estate agents.

The increase in demand has led to the number of available properties for sale dropping by more than a third - 37 per cent – and asking prices rising by over £12,000 to £175,944.

The time it takes to secure a buyer has dropped from 76 days to just 52 days over the past year, a 32 per cent drop.

Rightmove’s housing market analyst Miles Shipside said: “The average asking price of a property in Newport is almost half that of Bristol so you can see why buyers are making the move into Wales, especially as they know the tolls on the bridges will be scrapped at the end of the year.

“However, the demand is clearly taking its toll on the number of properties agents have available to offer buyers on Rightmove, making it very much a sellers’ market in Newport right now.”

Mark Roberts, the director of Roberts Estate Agents in Newport, said: “We’re seeing all sorts of buyers looking for properties in Newport, from first-time buyers and investors from Bristol to locals taking the chance to sell up and buy a bigger home.

“We’re selling houses every single day at the minute, often within hours, as soon as a property goes live on Rightmove the phone starts ringing straight away.

“Buyers from Bristol are being able to sell a small terraced house and move to Newport to a four bed detached house for the same price, so I can see this level of activity and the stock shortages continuing for at least another 12 months.”

Paul Cleverly, the managing director of Pinkmove Estate Agents in Newport, added: “A wave of first-time buyers has been stoking the flames of the Newport market for over a year now, and it’s coming from both sides of the city.

“From the east are buyers from Bristol, and from the west are buyers from Cardiff.

“Another reason for the demand is the excellent transport links with easy access to the M4 motorway and the soon to be electrified high-speed train line to London.

“Finally, excellent public schooling seals the deal for many parent looking for affordable homes.

“The issue we have is that properties are selling so quickly so even though the number of overall new sellers coming to market hasn’t dropped dramatically, the demand that we’re seeing means that the number of available properties has been dwindling.”

Similar trends have been noticed in the Monmouthshire towns of Caldicot and Magor – even closer to the Severn Crossing.

Nathan James Reeks, the owner of Nathan James Estate Agents in Caldicot and Magor said: “We sold nine houses in the past week as the market is about four times stronger than it was this time last year, after it was announced that the tolls will be scrapped.

“In fact, we sold one recently within just a few hours, which sold for over £100,000 more than it sold for only 18 months ago.

“The result of this is a huge stock shortage, which is making it tough for both local first-time buyers trying to get on the ladder, and for those coming from places like Bristol.

“I’d say that within the next six to nine months you won’t be able to get a property for under £250,000 within a 10 mile radius of the bridges.”

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