Wage repression and stiff competition freeze many out of Weston housing market
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Fierce competition for affordable homes and prices increasing much faster than wages have left many first-time buyers in Weston feeling the bottom rung of the property ladder will be forever out of reach.
According to new Land Registry data the average price of a house in North Somerset rose from £251,553 in 2017 to £263,383 in 2018 – a 5.5 per cent increase, more than double the national average of 2.6 per cent.
Estate agents claim there has been a downturn in first-time buyers, but the competition for two and three-bedroom ‘starter homes’ is often much fiercer than larger properties.
Helen Devereux, assistant manager at Brightest Move Estate Agents, said: “Homes in the £160,000-£200,000 price range are much more sought after.
“The difference when you are talking about homes at that kind of price range and size is that it’s not only first-time buyers looking for them, but investors and those looking to downsize as well.
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“If you look at the rising levels of house prices in the past 10 years compared to wages they don’t match up, when house prices in North Somerset rise by five per cent in a year but wages only increase three-and-a-half per cent people will find it hard to save a deposit.
“The Government did try to stop the rise by getting rid of stamp duty, this helped a little but it didn’t decrease the prices at all.”
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These factors have led to many in Weston feeling that they will never own their own home.
Ian Phillips said: “I would love to own my own home, but it will never happen, and the chances are my kids won’t either.
“Compare house prices to wages 30 years ago to now and the people who can afford their homes will decline each year as the prices increase.”
Samantha Adams added: “I had trouble before the price rise so there’s no chance now.
“I know more people who rent than own their own home because the housing market has priced most of society out.”
Jantonina Blencowe said even ‘second step up buyers’ were finding it difficult.
She said: “It is impossible to afford houses in our area. I have a decent enough house I bought 20 years ago as a first-time-buyer, but I cannot afford the next step up. I am priced out of the market every single time.”