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Tuesday, 11 February, 2003, 15:18 GMT
Congestion charge 'to hit house prices'
Congestion charge
Charge will not increase prices within zone
Increased traffic around the edge of London's new congestion charging zone might force down house prices, according to property surveyors.

Whilst the scheme may succeed in reducing traffic in central London, it may have the reverse effect on the areas bordering the charging zone

Louis Armstrong, RICS
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said some people living along the perimeter could see their homes drop in value because of an increase in traffic trying to avoid the 5 daily charge.

Homeowners within the zone, who were hoping to capitalise on their addresses, were unlikely to benefit either.

RICS said those properties would not increase in value because prices were already "steep".

Driving down prices

The controversial congestion charge will be introduced on 17 February.

Surveyors said they had not seen a change in rents and prices in the run-up to the charge.

But half of all surveyors believed properties in areas near to the zone could be affected by a surge in traffic trying to avoid the charge.

There had been speculation that homes within the zone could capitalise on their 90% discount on the 5 congestion charge.

But surveyors said there were "no significant changes" in house prices and rents to date.

As prices and rents were already steep in these central areas, the report said, surveyors did not expect there to be any increases as result of the charge.

Louis Armstrong, RICS chief executive, said: "RICS is broadly in favour of congestion charging, but this survey echoes concerns already raised by us; that whilst the scheme may succeed in reducing traffic in central London, it may have the reverse effect on the areas bordering the charging zone."


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