London buyers still pushing up Cotswold house prices

17th August 2023
Home > News > London buyers still pushing up Cotswold house prices

By Dave Harvey & Chloe Harcombe BBC News

A council leader is calling for more low-cost housing to be built to ease the pressure on first-time buyers.

Houses in the Cotswolds have an average price of £411,000 - 14 times the local average annual salary. An increase in buyers from London is keeping prices high, one estate agent said.

Councillor Joe Harris said: "I'm sick of friends my age - I'm 30 - leaving. Most have left the area because they cannot afford to live here."

The Liberal Democrat leader of Cotswold District Council, Mr Harris, is keen to highlight developments such as the building of 27 homes for social rent - 50% of the market rate - currently being built at Kempsford in Gloucestershire.

But he says much more needs to be done. The government has previously said it is investing £11.5bn in affordable homes and had built 243,000 such homes in rural places since 2010.

"We need local authorities and the state delivering houses again at scale," said Mr Harris.
"That's what we did in the 1950s and 60s and coincidentally, that's the last time any government hit its housing targets. "We need to be radical about the solutions provided", he added.


'People selling whatever they can'

According to the Office for National Statistics, the average house price in England has increased since 2022, with the average house price costing £304,000 as of May 2023.

In Wiltshire, Matt Evans has managed to get a two-bedroom flat in Swindon for him and his daughter, after what he admits has been "a bit of a struggle" to be able to buy.

"I earn quite good money, but to get onto the property ladder you've got to have a huge deposit. I've had to get rid of my car to bump my mortgage up a little bit."

In Swindon, homes sell for, on average, £250,000 - seven times the average annual pay packet in the town. That may seem steep, but it actually makes it one of the more affordable places in the West.

Ben Hicks, from Avocado Property Agents, said buyers are managing to get the cash together, but to buy their own place means many are making big sacrifices.

"Predominantly it's been harder for people - more on the deposit side. "We've had people selling cars, selling pretty much anything they own. Ebay has been a friend to a lot of people, Facebook Marketplace - just selling anything they possibly can."

For those who have already managed to buy property, the danger of rising mortgage rates is causing serious issues, said Fiona Cope, Chief Officer at Citizen's Advice in North Somerset.

"Over the last, probably, 12 months we have seen a marked increase in mortgage repossessions," she said. "We are seeing people facing rises of £300, £700, £1,000 in mortgage payments - and for a lot of people that's wholly unaffordable.

"As a consequence they are beginning to fall into arrears."

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