Concern over hike in St Albans house prices

PUBLISHED: 06:35 22 March 2014

Houses in St Albans

Houses in St Albans

Archant

The housing crisis has reached breaking point with St Albans topping the table in Hertfordshire for substantial rises in home prices and private rent, a campaign group has warned.

This district has seen a 70 per cent hike in house prices in the last 10 years – surpassing Three Rivers (66 per cent), Dacorum (62 per cent) and Welwyn Hatfield (52 per cent).

The figures have been released by the National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations throughout England and has more than 1,000 members who own and manage over 90 per cent of the country’s housing association properties.

St Albans also tops the table for increases in private rent, which went up by 55 per cent between 2002-12. Neighbouring Welwyn Hatfield saw a 20 per cent rise, while Dacorum experienced an 18 per cent increase.

Claire Astbury, East of England external affairs manager for the federation, said: “High house prices, rising rents and low and stagnant wages in Herts are not only making life extremely difficult for people living and working in the county but they are also affecting employers and businesses, and risk holding back economic growth.”

She has called for local enterprise partnerships to work with councils, housing associations and others to get more homes built “at the right price”.

The federation launched its “Home Truths 2014: East of England” report in Parliament last Thursday.

In the report, the organisation says that rising house costs are hitting the public purse, with a 96 per cent increase in working people claiming housing benefit in the East of England since 2009.

Homelessness has risen 32 per cent in the past two years in the region.

In St Albans while house prices have increased dramatically, the average salary has not kept pace with residents seeing just a 17 per cent average salary rise over the last decade.

This is compared to 47 per cent in Broxbourne, 27 per cent in Stevenage and 34 per cent in Watford.

The gross annual income needed for the average mortgage in St Albans is £100,738, compared to £84,213 in Hertsmere and £70,309 in Welwyn Hatfield.

Statistics released by the federation show that the average salary in St Albans is £29,936 – the highest in the county – whereas those in Stevenage earn the lowest, £22,344.

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