Comment: Times are changing, but St Albans is still reassuringly posh

Marshals Drive is one of St Albans' most exclusive addresses. Picture: Archant

Marshals Drive is one of St Albans' most exclusive addresses. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

In these trying times, where so little is as it should be, some things remain reassuringly unchanged.

And where might we find this comfort? Why, in the news that St Albans has once more been named as one of England’s priciest places to live.  

The local authority ranked high in a new countdown of £1m-plus property hotspots, with 137 such transactions between December 2019 and November 2020.  

A median sold price of £1,257,000 placed St Albans in 20th place in a countdown of the areas of England and Wales with the most £1m-plus moves.  

St Albans looked almost affordable when compared with the biggest hitters on the list, however: in the City of Westminster – which came top with 876 such sales – the median average was a solid £2m. In second place Kensington and Chelsea (753 sales) it was £2.1m.  

Naturally, the list was packed with London boroughs and posh parts of the commuter belt: Windsor and Maidenhead, Elmbridge and Waverley in Surrey and – last but not cheap – St Albans (which also covers Harpenden and surrounding villages). 

So are we pleased to be posh, or not really? These sorts of stats often stir up debate between natives and incomers, the bulk of whom arrive via London.  

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Speaking as a long-term import from up north, having moved to St Albans after a spell in the capital nearly two decades ago, my somewhat biased opinion is that all should be welcome, wherever they grew up.  

But as a parent, I fully feel the frustration of lifelong residents: in all likelihood, my kids won’t be able to afford a home here either, leaving it to ex-Londoners to snap up the places they’d like to buy.  

However, unless St Albans homeowners want to start banning anyone who wasn’t born locally from offering on their house then that’s just the way it’s going to carry on being.  

There’s much more to our area than the headline-grabbing likes of Marshal’s Drive and Park Avenue North, of course. According to Rightmove, the average sale price in St Albans over the last year was a mere £582,408, while in Harpenden it was £857,153. Under a million,  just...