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How Will Southend City Status Impact Essex Property Market?

There are always many factors that can impact on the cost of renting or buying a property in a town, city or region, but a new factor may be brought to bear on Essex.

Landlords and letting agents in Billericay will be watching the effect of the granting of city status to Southend on the demand for rental property in the town, following the news that the seaside resort will be granted a royal charter.

The news came suddenly in the past few days in response to the fatal stabbing of Southend West MP Sir David Amess, who had been a consistent campaigner for the town to become a city.

With the Queen due to grant city status to an unspecified number of chosen towns in 2022 as part of her platinum jubilee celebrations, Southend had been in competition with Colchester to follow in the footsteps of Chelmsford, which became the first Essex town to gain city status in 2012.

The key question is how much Southend will gain from its new status. The hope expressed by the late MP and other campaigners was that it would provide prestige and an economic boost, with more tourism and investment. If that does come about, it may in turn make Southend a more sought-after place to live.

In such a situation, the cost of renting in other parts in Essex may dip, as those trying to choose which coastal location to rent in might decide the new city offers the best prospects, shifting demand away from other locations.

Of course, some of these factors may be more long-term than others. Investment and economic growth will take time to come through, as may any significant new housing developments to meet a rise in demand for Southend properties to rent or buy. In the meantime, however, there may be a bounce in values on the back of city status.

At the same time, Colchester Council has decided to continue with its bid, so it may be other towns in Essex have to contend with having two new cities nearby.

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