Japanese Knotweed the Cause for £20bn UK Property Value Loss

I suppose the property speculators could have predicted that and made provision for something like this eating into the UK’s property prices, but I couldn’t imagine they actually had any idea that the invasive Japanese Knotweed would be wreaking this much havoc. That’s exactly what’s happening – the UK’s most invasive, non-native plant has knocked down the property value to the tune of £20bn, undoubtedly causing a bit of panic and maybe some confusion amongst prospective buyers, sellers and real estate agents.

We don’t sympathise with the property speculators here because they’re probably the main cause as to why the average person in this day and age can’t seem to afford something like buying a home to try and climb the property ladder, but they’ll undoubtedly be feeling the pinch too. If anything, property speculators have met their match in somewhat of a natural nemesis, and I say “somewhat” because as the name suggests, the invasive Japanese Knotweed is indeed from a different part of the world. It wouldn’t have “come to the UK naturally,” but it’s certainly a much more natural factor to have contributed to the property value than the “investor sentiment” which ordinarily contributes in the biggest way, which is something that’s hard to quantify in any way that makes logical sense.

The blight, to refer to it more specifically, is actually of the ornamental variety in plants, first coming to the UK in the 1850s. It has since grown into one of the most aggressive of destructive and invasive plants as per the Environment Agency, but who would have ever guessed that the extent to which it would cause damage would amount to a whopping £20bn?

To put things into a little bit more perspective as to exactly how this value is depreciating as a result of the Japanese Knotweed, blight, we have mortgage lenders in their numbers refusing loans for those properties which the weed affects. This is according to new research of course and subsequently the effect is that the sale of property has slowed down quite significantly.

Is it just a matter of it being left uncontrolled though? Possibly, because in a recent study conducted by YouGov and Environet UK, the number of houses affected by knotweed amount to around 5 per cent in the UK. These are affected either directly or indirectly. This suggests that it’s perhaps quite a common problem, but we’re witnessing the effects of it getting out of hand, hitting the property market where it hurts most.

So current homeowners who aren’t even perhaps looking to sell their properties any time soon or ever would still do well to keep the problem in check and be part of the solution. After all, effective Japanese knotweed removal could be a simple step one takes to preserve the value of their property and prevent secondary invasion of neighbouring properties. If the property prices of all your neighbours go down as a result of something like this or as a result of any other factor for that matter, guess what that means for YOUR property too?