Average house price in Uttlesford nears ten times average salary in 2016

Halifax reports renewed confidence in the market following a period of decline (Photo: Archant)

Halifax reports renewed confidence in the market following a period of decline (Photo: Archant) - Credit: Archant

In 2016 the average house price in Uttlesford was almost ten times the average salary in the district, making it an increasingly difficult area for first time buyers to find a home and once more throwing a spotlight on housing need.

Sold sign in Hempstead. Photo: ARCHANT

Sold sign in Hempstead. Photo: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Last year the average salary in Uttlesford was £36,274 per annum in relation to an average house price of £355,000, a whopping 9.79 times the average salary.

With easy access to London and Cambridge in an idyllic countryside backdrop, towns like Saffron Walden and Great Dunmow and their outlying villages have been attracting London commuters and families seeking high quality education for their children, making Uttlesford one of the most expensive areas in the country to buy a home.

Uttlesford District councillor and former mayor of Saffron Walden, Heather Asker, said: “This is a very, very worrying kind of thing. Even at our level we question affordable housing.

“Because even if people go on 50:50 ownership they still have to find a £10,000 deposit and pay the mortgage, plus the rent on the other half.

“It means that single people are being singled out if they want to live on their own, as they have a right to do. And if young couples want to start a family then someone has to be earning about 50k.

“The current situation is making it totally unachievable for someone wanting to start on the ladder.

Most Read

“With regard to property and people it’s going to be a very, very long haul before people can get into a position where they’re going to be able to afford housing.”

She added: “We need to reflect on social housing and that, maybe, is the key. This phenomenon is something the British market has very much created.

“With our private rental market you are covering the cost of the mortgage in effect, and the way forward has to be looking more in the direction of social housing; the situation requires an awful lot of input.”

The rental market and the high volume of investment buyers in the area are also contributing to driving up the cost of property in Uttlesford.

Sally Smales, senior negotiator and valuer at Mullucks Wells estate agent in Saffron Walden said: “House prices have been influenced by wealthier people moving to this area.

“Prices in Saffron Walden have gone up by up to 10 percent per annum in the last few years, which is a lot to do with schooling which I think the whole town is very much aware of.

“The outlying commuter villages have gone up by up to 5 percent per annum in the last few years.”

Some buyers try to invest in multiple properties where possible in order to secure a future when pensions and the living-wage are not keeping up with the cost of living.

She added: “A lot of normal people might buy a second property, thinking about the future for their children or about earning a pension.”

In 2015 the gap between salary and housing price was even bigger, prices reaching a peek of 10.25 times the average salary, the biggest wage/price gap in the area in 15 years.

Julian Carder, director at estate agent Arkwright and Co, said: “There are actually more people looking to buy and fewer people selling, because of the cost of moving. Salaries haven’t gone up or caught up with inflation.

“People are moving into the area from London, and they are earning better salaries, Cambridge is also as big an influence as London.”

Earlier this month work began on the new Mortimers Gate development on the former Ridgeons site off Ashdon Road in Saffron Walden.

More than 162 homes will be built on the brownfield site, including one and two-bedroom flats and two to four-bedroom houses with 64 of the properties as affordable housing.