The Government has confirmed today that tolls on both Severn bridge crossings are to be scrapped next year, in a move that is likely to boost the Welsh economy by £100m a year.
The news has come as a delight to the 25 million motorists who use the bridge each year, who could be better off by as much as £1400 annually.
But how will the news affect property values either side of the Channel?
Here in Bristol, David Beddoe, of Bristol estate agent Morgan Beddoe, says such is the demand and shortage of supply in Bristol that he doesn't believe the news will have a huge impact on the Bristol market.
But he does feel more first time buyers will be looking across the bridge.
"First time buyers are being priced out of Bristol, so with Newport 20 minutes away it is a sensible alternative," he said.
The rapid growth in Bristol's houses prices in recent years has already seen many buyers flock to South Wales, where property is considerably cheaper. The average house price in Newport, for 2016, was £153,338, in Magor it was £227,793 - but in Bristol it stands at £266,700.
Previous suggestions by Government that the bridge tolls would be halved have contributed to this trend. Estate agents in South Monmouthshire reported earlier this year that about 80% of their home buyers are now coming from the Bristol area, according to the BBC.
Now that they will not be hit with tolls costs as part of their commute, more people looking to get on the property ladder or move to a bigger home could be tempted to look across the bridge, with a subsequent impact on prices there.
Neil Williams, director at Martin & Co and CJ Hole which operates on both sides of the bridge, has already seen a number of buyers priced out of Bristol and believes the scrapping of the toll will increase the number of people moving across the bridge.
"We have seen an influx of landlords and investors buying properties [in Newport] as they can still achieve good yields compared to Bristol, and I believe the scrapping of the tolls will increase demand substantially to many Bristol buyers especially younger buyers and those on lower incomes who were put off with the tolls," said Mr Williams.
"Newport not only has excellent road links but many easily accessible junctions onto the motorway making a easy commute, often quicker than travelling across Bristol.
"Prices in parts of Newport are still subdued and are still below what they were 10 years ago but other areas have seen a 20-30% increase over the last year. I feel the scrapping of the tolls will have a positive upward increase, more prominent in some parts especially with good motorway access."
Stephen James, an associate from Bruton Knowles, is calling on land and property owners to make the area to the west of the bridges and east of Brynglas tunnels as attractive as possible.
"Those looking for somewhere more affordable to live will be eyeing up potential bargains before owners start hiking up prices," said Mr James.
"Landowners could also be in line for a windfall as developers consider their options on where to build."
But while it may be good news for investors, the news will be met with dismay by some South Wales residents who feel they are being priced out of the local market thanks to the 'Bristol effect'.
Mum of two Millie Hedges, 26, who is currently trying to buy in Caldicot in Monmouthshire, says she believes the scrapping of the tolls will cause local property values to 'skyrocket'.
"On many occasions I've called an estate agent to try to view a house thats just been added to Rightmove, only to be told that it's already under offer," she said.
"I was recently told by an estate agent in Magor that he only had two houses up for sale as everything else had been sold.
"I can only imagine that demand will snowball now. Whenever I talk to someone about commuting the toll is usually the first thing people say as a downside to living over the border.
"With that gone I expect there will be a mass exodus to South Wales as the area is a wonderful semi-rural place to live and still a lot cheaper than the surrounding areas of Bristol."
Source: Bristol Post
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