First time buyers priced out of St Albans housing market?

PUBLISHED: 18:50 16 May 2014

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Young professionals in St Albans looking to buy for the first time need to earn nearly twice the average income in the district or more to get a foot on the property ladder, new research has revealed.

Data published in The Sunday Times last weekend revealed prospective homeowners in the district would need to earn around £63,907 to secure a home.

An analysis carried out by Savills estate agents also suggested that falls in home ownership have been generally higher in the south of England than the north, with under-35s feeling the brunt of the housing crisis.

As a result, Lucian Cook, director of residential research at Savills, said younger households would undoubtedly rent for longer and enter the housing market later in life, possibly when they could pool two incomes or take advantage of the housing equity built up by parents and grandparents.

Gary Wilkin, branch manager of Connells in Harpenden, said: “We don’t see very many first time buyers but what we do see are some being helped out by their parents. The majority of buyers I’m seeing coming to Harpenden tend to be London buyers.

“In recent times we are almost becoming a suburb of London because of the ease of access on the train line for commuters.

“I can’t see the situation for first-time buyers changing in the near future because house prices are so high, so there is a strong possibility our next generation of children could be renters.”

David Chadwick, from Collinson Hall in St Albans, said they were finding people in the district needed to have much larger deposits.

He commented that unless they got help from family or borrowed the deposit, they were probably going to have to be earning in excess of that level to really stand a chance.

Generally the first time buyers who pass through the doors of the Victoria Street estate agents are young professionals and usually in couples but there are exceptions. Reagan Bradley, head of property management at Sewell and Gardner, is currently saving to buy.

She said: “It’s very hard, I have to save over 50 per cent of my monthly wage to be able to afford a house in the coming year.”

The Redbourn resident said the biggest problem she has had to face was the large deposit required: “Currently as the sales market is growing I find I cannot save as quickly as prices are rising.”

The 24-year-old admitted that the current housing situation had put her off saving to buy at times but with renting the only alternative, she was determined to stick it out and save.

She felt that the Government could be doing more to help her generation get on the property ladder: “Help to buy schemes are good but have a lot of negative points which put me off them.

“They need to make lending more accessible and reduce deposit size. I also think stamp duty is an issue that the government could help first time buyers with.”

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