Comment: St Albans Vs Burnley - you decide
PUBLISHED: 13:00 24 November 2016 | UPDATED: 17:22 24 November 2016
The latest UK House Price Index made for interesting reading. As ever, there was huge growth in Hertfordshire, with house prices increasing way faster than the national average rate.
In England, the average home cost £234,250 in September, while the Herts average was £396,661 - up by 15.1 per cent year-on-year from £344,754.
The pattern was pretty consistent across the county, with prices increasing by 15.8 per cent in the Stevenage local authority area, 14.6 per cent in Welwyn Hatfield and 13.1 per cent in St Albans.
The cold, hard reality of this data hits hardest in St Albans, where the average house price has tipped comfortably over the half million mark.
While the average property cost a mere £463,759 back in 2015, this September it would have set you back £524,709. That’s an increase of more than £60k in just 12 months, maths fans! The Welwyn Hatfield average wasn’t far behind – up almost £50k from £333,539 to £382,137, while in Stevenage the average increased by more than £35k from £233,498 to £270,300.
So, have salaries shot up in synch with house prices? Course not. Well, not for most of us they haven’t.
Here in Herts, we’re used to these kinds of statistics. We’ll probably be in shock next year at this time if the St Albans average is still the right side of £600k. After all, we live in a sought after area. People can’t get enough of our great state schools, speedy – albeit shockingly unreliable – rail links into London and acres of glorious nearby countryside.
There’s no denying that Hertfordshire is also a safe place for investors to park their cash if it’s capital gain they’re after (a healthy rental yield is another matter).
Being from Yorkshire originally, Herts house prices have always seemed mad to me, even back in the days when half a million would have bought you something sizeable. I can’t help but compare this local data with the figures from up north – the average house in Leeds cost £170,927 in September, while in Wakefield it was a mere £138,776.
The biggest bargains in England can be found in Burnley, Lancashire, however – prices may have rocketed by 13.6 per cent year-on-year, but they still only reached an average of £78,511 in September. Under an hour from Manchester in good traffic, too.
Shall we all move? Er, don’t book the removal van just yet. Nearby Oldham was named the most deprived town in England in an ONS study earlier this year. Third on the least deprived list? St Albans. Swings and roundabouts and all that.
Think we’ll be putting the Burnley plan on hold for the time being and accepting that living somewhere this desirable doesn’t come cheap.