Published: 06:00, 29 August 2021
| Updated: 17:31, 30 August 2021
An area of Kent has gained a "million pound property market" since the pandemic hit.
One boss at a Tunbridge Wells estate agent said she had seen buyers offering 10% over the asking price for homes in the borough before the stamp duty holiday ended.
Data from estate agency Knight Frank and the Land Registry found that the TN3 postcode within Tunbridge Wells was one of 19 new areas where more than 20% of sales were of homes costing £1 million or more for six months since the pandemic began.
This means that the postcode area qualifies as a million pound property market, according to Knight Frank.
The TN3 postcode includes the villages of Lamberhurst, Goudhurst, Speldhurst, Bidborough, Rusthall, the town of Southborough and the suburb of Tunbridge Wells town, High Broom.
Although several London areas are included in the list, more than half are outside the capital postal district, such as North and West Oxford and Reading.
Knight Frank says the new £1m neighbourhoods underline the growing demand for space and greenery following successive lockdowns, although Tom Bill, head of UK residential research at the company points out that: “The pandemic has left its mark on the UK property market by magnifying existing trends rather than re-writing the rulebook".
Gemma Collins, managing director of Kings Estate in Mount Pleasant Road, Tunbridge Wells said buyers had been trying to take advantage of the stamp holiday and the lack of supply and high demand has forced prices up.
Stamp duty is tax paid on property purchases.
Since June 2020, and as a means by the government to stimulate the housing market during the pandemic, buyers haven't had to pay any stamp duty on the first £500,000 of their purchase price.
But, on July 1, that amount reduced to £250,000 and in October, rates will revert to pre-pandemic levels.
Ms Collins said the demand for houses rather than flats was particularly noticeable.
She said:"The pandemic has highlighted to people limitations of some flats, they don't have outside spaces.
"When we market any type of house, we sometimes have three, four or five interested parties at any time, then we have to ask them to present their best offers.
"It's a very competitive time for the buyers.
"At peak stamp duty holiday, in some cases venders were lucky to get 10% extra of what they were asking. It's come down a lot now."
Ms Collins said she was seeing families and couples looking to start a family move out of London. She added however, that they were also seeing people already living within Tunbridge Wells relocating within the borough.
When asked about why people were moving to Tunbridge Wells, she said: "Schools are a high priority.
"Tunbridge Wells is a big town so it has got a slightly London feel, then they want to come to the country but still want the convenience for the shops, cafes, bars.
"The fact if they have to go into London for any reason well it isn't far on the train."
With the help of Zoopla, KentOnline has taken a look at what £1m+ can get you in west Kent.
A five bed detached house is on sale for £1,650,000, located in the Royal Wells Park development in Tunbridge Wells.
In the village of Bearsted, in the Maidstone borough, a six bed semi-detached house costs £1,250,000.
In Dry Hill Park Road, Tonbridge, a five bed semi-detached house is being sold for £1,100, 000
Zoopla data also shows that across all areas in Kent, house prices have risen by at 5.5%, when comparing July 2021 to July 2020.
In the Ashford district, the average house price for July was £315,000, with a 7.1% growth. The average Canterbury house is £331,200, with a 7.2% growth.
Dover has likewise seen a rise of 7.3%, with prices standing at £272,800. Tonbridge and Malling has risen by 7.0%, with house prices at £394, 800.
Sevenoaks and Thanet have both seen a rise of 6.9%, with prices now at £493,900 and £265,100 respectively. Across the Tunbridge Wells borough, there has been an increase of 6.6%, with prices at £426,800.
Swale has seen a rise a rise of 5.8%, prices standing at £270,400. Gravesham, Maidstone and Medway have all seen rises of 5.6%, with the average prices being £307,400, £320,800 and £262, 800 respectively.
Dartford has seen the least growth, at 5.2%, with house prices at £328,700.