City now tops the house-price list

PUBLISHED: 11:37 07 January 2008 | UPDATED: 12:45 06 May 2010

Roma Mills

Roma Mills

ST Albans has leapfrogged over other prime locations to emerge with the most expensive house prices in the UK. In its annual house price study, the Nationwide Building Society says the average house in St Albans now costs £347,563 - that s £8,000 more tha

ST Albans has leapfrogged over other prime locations to emerge with the most expensive house prices in the UK.

In its annual house price study, the Nationwide Building Society says the average house in St Albans now costs £347,563 - that's £8,000 more than its closest rival Oxford. And prices have risen by 13 per cent over the past year, the fourth highest rate of growth in the UK.

From the last study in 2006 when the average price of a house in the city was £306,767, prices have soared by £112 a day to their present level.

St Albans now tops five towns whose average house prices exceed £300,000.

Prospective Labour Parliamentary candidate Roma Mills said the latest house price survey confirmed it was time for urgent action on affordable housing in and around St Albans.

She pointed out that combined with news of a sharp drop in first-time buyers, the Nationwide report highlighted how hard it was for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder in St Albans and its surrounding villages.

She said there were serious implications for everyone living in the city and it would become increasingly difficult to recruit and retain essential workers on average salaries, such as teachers, hospital staff and social workers, let alone those who were on lower incomes who kept the streets clean, collected refuse, ran buses and staffed the shops.

She added: "There was a lot of chortling when St Albans was given Mayfair's spot on the Monopoly board but it was all from people who own houses, not from people who are trying to get onto the property ladder.

"There is an urgent need for local councils to get behind the drive to provide more affordable houses. Only a small proportion of the houses being built in the district have been affordable - on the recently-built Napsbury Estate in London Colney, most of the new houses were extremely expensive.

"The alternative is for St Albans to become an enclave, with essential workers having to travel in from further and further away, adding to traffic congestion and pollution.

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