Comment: Unaffordability bites for the local people desperate to get on the St Albans property ladder

Not cheap: St Peter's Street, St Albans. Picture: DANNY LOO

Not cheap: St Peter's Street, St Albans. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

We love a good best/worst/most outrageously expensive places to live list, and in the last week or so St Albans has cropped up on a couple.

First, it was named as one of the UK’s best places to live in the 2019 Halifax Quality of Life index, coming ninth (up six places on a year ago).

This apparently means that St Albans has a winning mix of key factors in its favour, such as good schools and strong labour and housing markets. Yes, the much-discussed, famously not cheap St Albans housing market is officially a sign of the city’s good quality of life.

This brings us seamlessly to Lloyds Bank’s list of UK cities with the highest house price growth between 2008 and 2018, which saw St Albans rank fifth. The city’s average house price rose from £317,825 to an enormous £521,116 during the decade – an increase of 64 per cent.

Not surprisingly given this info, St Albans was also named by Lloyds as one of the least affordable cities in the UK, coming 19th, with a house price to average earnings ratio of 7.8.

So which one is it? Suburban idyll with a great quality of life? Or overpriced bubble where property is only within reach of the super-rich? A bit of both, really.

St Albans is undeniably very, very expensive, and buying property here is now harder than ever given the aforementioned huge increase in prices.


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But it’s also a lovely place to live, with great state schools and high earning residents – another sign of good quality of life, apparently – and, in most cases, a necessity if home ownership is something that’s sought after.

Obviously, if St Albans wasn’t so appealing there wouldn’t be such demand for properties and the prices would be nowhere near as exorbitant.

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Both these lists make sense, though possibly more-so to the local young people resigned to never owning a property in their home town than anyone else.

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