Are first-time buyers being priced out of St Albans and Harpenden?

Can first-time buyers afford to live in St Albans and Harpenden?

Can first-time buyers afford to live in St Albans and Harpenden? - Credit: PA

More than a third (36 percent) of homes sold last year were in areas unaffordable for first-time buyers, according to a new study.

Soaring prices mean large parts of the UK are now prohibitively expensive to those purchasing their first property.

Average house prices cost more than five times the average income of first-time buyers, research conducted by Post Office Money Mortgages revealed.

People asked in the South East said they would only consider buying a property that was a maximum 45-minute journey from work and 19 minutes from shops.

Generally, average house prices have increased by 306 per cent in the last 20 years, which is making it impossible for many of those wishing to get their feet on the housing ladder.

But in St Albans, Harpenden and surrounding areas, that average house price increase is even higher at 318 per cent.

In 1995 in the South East, first-time buyers’ annual income was just over £21K but last year salaries averaged at almost £55.5K. This reflects a 160 per cent increase in pay, compared to a 318 per cent soar in average property prices.

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In fact only 16 per cent of those purchasing their first home in the UK buy properties in the South East. And although this has risen 3 per cent since 1995, the number of mortgages awarded to first-time buyers in the South East has dropped from 44 per cent 20 years ago to 36 per cent in recent years.

While 81 per cent of London was affordable to first-time buyers in 1995, in 2015 just 41 percent of the capital city was within their price range.

The Priced Out report was undertaken to explore national trends in affordability and how it’s changed for first-time buyers over the past two decades.

Nine out of 10 of those buying their first home admitted the were forced to lower their expectations, compared to less than three in 10 who bought 20 years ago.

And if you fancy a day trip to the seaside, that might well be all you could afford because last year only 9 per cent of Brighton was affordable compared with 100 per cent in 1995 – making it the least affordable of the 14 major cities in the survey.

John Willcock, head of mortgages at Post Office Money, said: “These figures highlight the challenges facing today’s first-time buyers. Cities such as Brighton are becoming unaffordable ‘blackspots’. The London property market has always been more challenging for new buyers to break into, which is why many instead turned to surrounding areas within a commutable distance – which is turn are becoming increasingly unaffordable.”