HAILSHAM: First-time buyers priced out of the housing market

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FIRST time buyers in Wealden are being priced out of the property market as the gap widens between wages and house prices.

According to new research carried out by the National Housing Federation, Wealden is among the 10 English locations that have risen most rapidly in unaffordability over the past 10 years, with average house prices shooting up from £128,938 in 1999 to £272,484 in 2009 – an increase of 111 per cent.

The gap between wages and house prices over the past decade has widened in every rural district throughout England, the research found, with house prices rising at more than three times the rate of local salaries since 1999.

An average home in Wealden now costs 16 times the average local salary of £17,072 – up from 9.9 times the local salary in 1999.

Warren Finney, South East regional manager for the National Housing Federation said, “Affordability is a huge issue in rural parts of the South East, and we’ve seen a huge increase in the problem over the last 10 years as house prices have rocketed ahead of wages.

“With no hope of buying their own home local people are already being priced out of their communities, and unless affordable homes can continue to be built to meet demand in the English countryside, than this problem will increase further.

“Ultimately there could be a huge knock-on impact on the South East’s rural economy,” he added.