Essex Property Market Report: Should I Buy a House in Essex?

26/01/2024
(Last Updated: 30/01/2024)
223
9 min read

Average Sale Price

£370,651
(November)

Price Growth

-2.5.%
(YoY to November)

Best Growth YoY

Maldon & Brentwood
(+6.1% & -+0.2%)

Least Growth YoY

Colchester & Harlow
(-5.9% & -5.6%)
Key Takeaways
  • Essex is one of a few regions which saw more completed transactions in September than the September of the 2008 crash
  • Essex house prices rose monthly in November and fell annually at a slightly better rate than England and Wales
  • Colchester has the most active housing market in Essex
  • Rochford has had the steepest decline in sales volume
  • Essex property values are highest in Epping Forest at £537,159
  • Tendring remains the most affordable district to buy a home in Essex
  • There is significant funding to support jobs and homes in Essex, as well as refurbish and develop towns which will boost local property markets


A row of colourful old cottages in Saffron Walden in Essex. SAM Conveyancing's report on the Essex property market


House prices in Essex and nationwide have wobbled for the past 12 months, but lenders have dropped their interest rates on 2 and 5 year fixed rate mortgages this month, gambling on a reduction from the Bank of England in the summer. Andrew Bailey, the Bank's Governor, has previously indicated that they won't bring the rate down until inflation falls to their target of 2%. We expect the base rate to hold at 5.25% for some time, especially following an unexpected rise to 4% inflation in December.

When the base rate eventually does come down, mortgage rates will follow, and buyer demand will rise. We can expect this to drive house prices in Essex up again, along with the rest of the country.


Source: Office for National Statistics (ONS)


Will there be a UK recession in 2024?

The UK Economy fell into recession last year, but positive annual growth of 0.25% was initially forecast by the Bank of England at the beginning of 2024.

The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) revised their forecasts upwards at the end of February, to 0.5% for 2024, 0.7% for 2025, and a healthier 1% growth for 2026.

This, however, is well below the pre-pandemic average. NEISR estimate that Britain's poorest households will not recover fully until 2027.


Essex property sales: second-worst September for volume.

The pattern in Essex very much mirrors the volume of property sales across England and Wales, with the numbers of transactions remaining well below 'normal' throughout 2023. September was the second worst September on record for Essex, with just 67 more property sales than September 2008, during the economic crash.


Source: House Price Index (HPI)


Is Essex a good place to buy property?

House prices in Essex dropped in October but rose monthly by 0.3% in November to £370,651, just 2.5% down on the same month last year. In comparison, England and Wales as a whole was 2.9% down year on year and 1.1% down on the previous month. While houses in Essex are worth £350 less than they were last year, the Essex property market is faring better than the national average.


Source: House Price Index (HPI)


Do you need conveyancing services for an Essex property?






What our survey revealed about homebuyers
Our survey, conducted by YouGov, reveals the top challenges faced homeowners when buying their most recent property, plus the true costs of defects when skipping a home buyers survey.


What are homebuyers looking for?

Colchester is the most active property market in Essex

While there were fewer transactions in every district, Colchester saw 79% of last year's sales volume (September to September), followed by Harlow (65%) and Maldon (64%). On the other hand, sales volume has really dried up in Rochford which saw just 35% of last year's property sales, followed by Basildon (47%) and Brentwood (49%).

Colchester was the capital of Roman Britain and is one of our fastest growing cities, still steeped in rich history. It sits 50 miles northeast of London on the River Colne. Colchester is popular with homeowners and renters alike, thanks to its best-of-both offering of a quaint market town in beautiful countryside and a diverse and well-connected local economy with thriving nightlife, shops and university.


Source: House Price Index (HPI)


Epping Forest is the most expensive place to buy property in Essex

Epping Forest is home to 55,000 ancient trees, and the largest open space in London with average house prices at £537,159, less than 1% behind the record high of £542,488 in August 2022.

Bisected by the M11 and M25, Epping Forest is well connected in (and out of) the city, just an hour's journey from central London. It offers a unique combination of commuter convenience and breath-taking protected wilderness, giving many local residents cause to believe it is the best place to buy a home in Essex.

Average sold prices in Epping Forest over the last year varied, at £713,419 in Buckhurst Hill (+7% YoY), £623,142 in Epping (-5%), and £613,509 in Loughton (-7%).


Source: House Price Index (HPI)


Tendring is the most affordable place to buy a home in Essex

Tendring is a beachside district 11 miles east of Colchester. It's rural enough to almost double the commute into the city via public transport which keeps house prices low. If you're wondering how to buy an affordable home in Essex and access to the capital is not a priority, Tendring may be the answer.

Average sold prices in Tendring over the last year varied, at £250,776 in Clacton-on-Sea (-6% YoY) and £291,017 in Brightlingsea (+2%).


Source: House Price Index (HPI)


Are house prices in Essex dropping?

House prices in Essex are dropping in 10 out of 12 districts; however, 9 out of the 12 are either growing or dropping less than the average for England and Wales, which is 2.9% down on last year. So, the property market in Essex is relatively strong.

Economists predict that house prices across the country will fall between -1% and -5% over the course of 2024. It follows that house prices in Essex will continue to drop, but if current patterns can be expected to hold, house prices in Essex will drop less than in other regions. Maldon, in particular, has pulled ahead of the rest of the region, with strong growth as shown in the graph below (yellow).


Source: House Price Index (HPI)


What is next for the Essex housing market?

The Essex Renewal Fund (ERF) was launched in 2022 and will invest over 100 million pounds over the next 20 years to support 1,500 jobs and bring enough land to market to deliver 1,000 new homes.

The fund will consider projects which align with the Levelling up Essex strategy to:

  • benefit Essex residents and businesses,
  • involve refurbishment, development or bringing development land to market,
  • lie within the administrative area of Essex County Council (excluding Southend and Thurrock), and
  • focus on attracting and retaining investment and talent in and around Tendring, Basildon and Colchester housing estates, Harlow, Rural Braintree and Canvey Island.

Nurturing the 5 key growth sectors identified in the Essex Sector Development Strategy:

  • construction (including retrofit)
  • clean energy
  • advanced manufacturing and engineering
  • digi-tech
  • life sciences (including med-tech and care-tech)

  • create and safeguard jobs
  • attract and retain investment and talent in important locations
  • support start-ups and high potential firms
  • contribute to green growth and climate resilience
  • keep momentum with, and speed up major housing and economic growth projects
  • encourage shift to sustainable modes of transport
  • provide opportunities for reskilling and upskilling
  • facilitate higher productivity economic activity
  • contribute to a Net Zero carbon future

Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects in Essex


Better power infrastructure will increase the capacity for new homes to be built in Essex.

Longfield Solar Farm
Situated northeast of Chelmsford, complete with battery storage.

North Falls Offshore Wind Farm
Situated near Clacton-on-Sea.

Five Estuaries Offshore Wind Farm
Situated near Clacton-on-Sea.

Twinstead Tee network reinforcement project
New overhead and underground electricity transmission network cables between Bramford Substation in Suffolk and Twinstead Tee near Halstead, Essex.

Norwich to Tilbury
Reinforcement of the 400kV high voltage power network to include a new 400kV connection substation in the Tendring district.

Rivenhall Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF) and Energy Centre
Extension to increase electrical generating capacity to 65MW (from 49.9 MW).

Bradwell Power Station
New nuclear power station capable of generating up to 2.2GW of electricity. Situated in Bradwell-on-Sea.

Sea Link project
New offshore HVDC cable between Suffolk and Kent with a converter station in Suffolk and in Kent.

Improved transport infrastructure will make more parts of Essex accessible to homebuyers who commute into London, as well as improving freight logistics to the affected areas.

Road Improvements: A12 (Chelmsford) to A120 (Marks Tey)
Widening and re-routing scheme to ease congestion.

Lower Thames Crossing
Road crossing of the Thames, downstream of the Dartford Crossing and adjacent to the village of East Tilbury.

Better Import & Export infrastructure will increase distribution capacity and create jobs in Essex, making homeownership possible for more Essex residents.

Oikos Marine & South Side project
Marine infrastructure and equipment expansion on two of the Terminal's jetties with new storage tanks in Canvey Island.



Should I buy a house in Essex?

Essex is an excellent location for homeowners who want to tick multiple boxes:

  • Rural charm
  • Beautiful beaches
  • Ancient woodland
  • History and period homes
  • City amities with thriving retail and nightlife
  • Access to the capital

The Essex Housing Market has held strong compared to the rest of the country, and Essex house prices beat the national average by almost £75,000; however, there are still affordable houses to be snapped up in the region.

Property prices in Essex may fall slightly this year, but economists predict that the house prices will rise again from 2025-2028. So, if you can afford to buy now, it is likely you'll be able to switch to a more affordable mortgage rate in a couple of years, by which point your investment will hopefully have appreciated in value.

If you are renting and can afford to buy at the current rate of interest, this may be a much more desirable option than saving for a bigger deposit, as rents are set to rise nationally by 5% or more (but only 2% in London), whereas mortgage rates are likely to fall.

If you are ready to buy a house in Essex, we can handle your purchase with a dedicated SAM Conveyancing Consultant to manage your transaction alongside one of our hand-selected panel solicitors.


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"Now January is upon us, at SAM Conveyancing, we have seen a 20% increase in sales volume compared to last year, which indicates a mini-housing bubble of buyers coming to market after holding off. Dare I say we have a housing market that has hope for 2024...let's see!"

- Andrew Boast FMAAT MIC
CEO and Author | SAM Conveyancing

Sources: Latest data from - Gov.UK, Bank of England, UK House Price Index, ONS, Property Mark (NAEA), and Rightmove.

Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Written by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Reviewed by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands-on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.
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With more than two decades’ experience in the conveyancing sector and over 50,000 successful client moves under his belt, Andrew shares insider tips and advice to empower you as a buyer, giving you the tools to make the best decisions for your circumstances and ease the chaos.


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