House prices soar as first-time buyers struggle to purchase homes

PUBLISHED: 12:00 02 August 2018

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More than one in five households in the UK turn to renting over buying as house prices rise and affordable housing is sparse.

The Office of National Statistics has revealed there was a 6.7 per cent increase in house prices in North Somerset in the past 12 months, causing more people to look at renting.

Statistics showed the average price of a house in the area is £259,508 and Westcoast Properties branch manager Nick Todd believes this is because the district is becoming ‘more and more popular’ to live in.

He added: “The impressive house price hike over the past few years links directly to the growing popularity of the area.

“We have close links to major cities such as Bristol, fantastic transport networks with M5 and M4 corridors, plenty of major employers in the region such as Airbus, MoD and many others.

“Generally the schooling in our region scores highly and with stunning scenic countryside on the doorstep, there are many reasons for purchasers to look here.”

But while people are seeing their houses jump in value – with the average homeowner seeing their property rise by around £74,000 since 2013 – it is becoming difficult for first-time buyers to purchase a house despite ‘fantastic’ Government initiatives like the ‘help-to-buy’ scheme.

Last year, 3,947 homes were sold in North Somerset, 12 per cent fewer than in 2016.

Mr Todd said: “There are a number of reasons why we have experienced a slow down last year. I believe mainly this is a result of a knock in confidence in the markets – Brexit has to be considered as the nation is currently in a state of ‘what ifs’ – as well as the changes Government has made to second-home purchasers and buy-to-let landlords.

“Essentially it is becoming less attractive to new landlords who may be considering purchasing an investment property as the costs are much greater. With this in mind, those costs are likely to rise further as we head into 2019.

“I believe in part the lack of affordable homes being built over the past decade has had an effect on those first-time buyers who may have been able to make a purchase. This essentially has made renting a better option.”

But, Mr Todd says it makes more ‘financial sense’ to invest in a home, with many people paying more in rent a month than the minimum mortgage payments.

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