“Priced out of Rural England” - the Norfolk people finding it impossible to buy a property in their home town or village

Blakeney Quay.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY Blakeney Quay. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Monday, June 30, 2014
12:12 PM

The beautiful stretches of East Anglia’s countryside have made it popular with holidaymakers and second home owners.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

Proportion of second homes by rural local authority in England, from the National Housing FederationProportion of second homes by rural local authority in England, from the National Housing Federation

But its desirability has made it almost impossible for local people to afford to buy, with workers in rural areas being priced out of the housing market.

A report published today revealed rural Norfolk and Suffolk have seen house prices rise up to almost 14 times the average annual income.

And the figures, released as part of Rural Housing Week, show north and west Norfolk, and Suffolk Coastal, have some of the highest numbers of second homes in the country.

Low wages have seen the growth of a group of people who have become Priced out of Rural England, known as PORES.

Key points of the report

The highest average house price in Norfolk is north Norfolk at £204,267 followed by South Norfolk at £204,096.

While north Norfolk is the highest, the average house price in the rest of rural Norfolk is between 9.85 and 11.4 times the average annual income.

With rising energy prices the number of people suffering from fuel poverty in rural areas has been highlighted. Households in rural areas are more likely to be off the grid and reliant on more expensive heating methods.

With an ageing population, housing is needed not only for the older population but for those who will be providing their care.

The National Housing Federation has created a Yes to Homes campaign, calling for the right homes, in the right place and at the right price in local communities.

For more information, visit www.yestohomes.co.uk or www.housing.org.uk

Wages, matched with high rents, fuel poverty and a seasonal job market, have made it harder for young people to stay in the towns and villages they were born.

North Norfolk fared worst in the report, with house prices between 12.3 and 13.9 times the average income of workers.

And almost 10pc of north and west Norfolk’s homes serve as second properties, leaving village shops, schools and bus services struggling to survive in the winter months.

Norfolk Rural Community Council chief executive Jon Clemo said the figures revealed a challenge he recognised.

He said: “The Norfolk coast has a history of low wages and some of the big employers are retail and tourism which are traditionally low-wage professions. We need to make sure people that do those jobs can live and work locally and make more affordable houses available.”

And with the Bank of England last week suggesting a 4.5 limit for most people of value to earnings for mortgages, it could be even harder for local people to buy.

But there are organisations that go some way to help people stay in their home towns and villages.

The Blakeney Neighbourhood Housing Society was founded in 1946 to offer affordable housing for tenants with a local birth tie.

John Archibald, chief executive of Victory Housing Trust, which provides affordable homes across north Norfolk, said the trust had been aware of the problem for some time.

He said: “The average wage in north Norfolk is quite low and 
affordability is not just about house price, but the income and the house price together.” The trust is committed to building 1,000 new homes by 2023, and smashed its target for last year by building 171.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said it was important to get more affordable homes built for local people.

He said: “We need to look further at planning rules, sometimes they can be very restrictive about allowing small developments at the edges of villages.”

Mr Lamb suggested mixed developments, with some homes for sale, some for rent and some for affordable housing.

And Claire Astbury, external affairs manager for the National Housing Federation, said wages at the lower end of the spectrum had 
not been rising at the rate of housing.

She said: “A lot of people who already own a house would not be able to afford to buy now.”

She said it was a problem across families, with the older generation being forced to dip into their pension savings to help children and grandchildren live nearby.

Have you been priced out of your area? Email sabah.meddings@archant.co.uk with your full contact details.

14 comments

  • Norfolk and Suffolk offer some of the cheapest housing in the country, so what is the problem? Prices have failed to keep up with inflation over the past 25 years and the sales price is too low to give a profit to builders in a non-subsidised market. The real problem is lack of job security and ridiculous constraints put on mortgages such as 25% deposits. If prices really were high you would see far more houses built

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    JohnnyH

    Tuesday, July 1, 2014

  • Norman, you are right, it has been going on for years, maybe it is time something was done about it before Norfolk becomes "little London".

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Mr T

    Tuesday, July 1, 2014

  • This has been going on for years. Hardly news.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    norman hall

    Monday, June 30, 2014

  • I lived in Norfolk for over forty years ,used to be niceplace to live ,I now live in France and find it unbelievable the prices that are being paid for properties in Norfolk,I saw a flat in sheringham up to 650 thousand you can buy a super place in the south of France for less with sun sea and sand and a pool,I live in Normandy its like Norfolk when I was a boy and I'm surprised a lot more Brits don't come over here.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    trev57

    Monday, June 30, 2014

  • RockinDaddy, in the village I live in a person from Essex moved in and since moving in has purchased at least three local properties that are now rented out, these could have been purchased by locals, had they been given the chance, is it right that people from "Down South" take over local villages without an thought for locals just because they have the money? Something needs to be done to discourage this and give locals preference on village accommodation. Younger generation are being forced out by money grabbing landlords.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Mr T

    Monday, June 30, 2014

  • Accusing local people of selling to second homers- how many people pick and choose their house purchaser? When cottages were sold after the death of the occupants, executors were surely expected to get the best price they could? Of course greed affects us all, but the worst greed is the finger in the pie greed of local councils when the finger should have been lifted to protect communities from the worst effects of second homes and holiday lets. There are whole rafts of businesses which get lost when local permanent residents are driven out and the tourist pound is not guaranteed to stay 100% in the region.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Monday, June 30, 2014

  • We may not be able to stop the influence of the wealthy commuter but we should act now to demand permanent covenants or restrictions barring second home or holiday let use on new builds as part of the planning process, and to make change of use of older residential properties to those a planning permission issue. I grow tired of hearing second homers or those who buy for holiday lets claim that no one wanted the cottages they bought years ago-patently untrue in most cases.Then as now, locals could not afford them at the price that would be paid for commercial use or second homes. When hard fought for affordable housing appears in holiday cottage brochures or new housing is denied where the existing stock is occupied by those who do not work locally or come from the locality, something stinks. Already large numbers of young and not so young have been forced into estates on the edges of market towns-and it is not unknown for parish councils and district councils to have members who have a vested interest in the holiday trade. Plus, quite unfairly, second homers may register to vote in parish council elections where they have a second home. This problem affects Devon and Dorset too and needs legislation-simply put all second homes and "proper" residential buildings should have to face retrospective planning permission. It is obscene that the countryside is built over and a false housing shortage created whilst such a huge percentage of housing is out of the permanent residential stock.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Monday, June 30, 2014

  • I feel it's unfortunate that youth can barely afford a house anywhere - but it's probably their Grandparents who sold to a second-homer to rake in a big amount of cash! Also let's stop all this talk about "affordable homes", because they aren't affordable, they are only a means of developers making lots of money. If the Government, Banks and Estate Agents weren't so greedy, then houses would be affordable. It's a vicious spiral, and doesn't stop whilst people talk about 'profit' from housing - Houses should be homes, not investments!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Considered View

    Monday, June 30, 2014

  • Who says that these 'second homes' aren't being bought by local people ?

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    GoodRockinDaddy

    Monday, June 30, 2014

  • How about trebling the rates on all those holiday homes that sit empty for most of the year? No wonder locals cannot afford houses, all the rich from elsewhere have snapped them up....

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Mr T

    Monday, June 30, 2014

  • if you want british people to be put first in housing in their own country you have to vote for it . You only get what you vote for

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    milecross

    Monday, June 30, 2014

  • Its a long term scheme by NNDC, it looks like they have learned from Dame lady Porters bad examples. Councils who have a history of ignoring those lesser advantaged local people should have their quotas for affordable housing raised by a responsible Government. Whats that? you may ask.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, June 30, 2014

  • So if you criticise Norm or VHA you get your comment removed. Welcome to the newspaper for the people.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    neilkemp1969

    Monday, June 30, 2014

  • But 'affordable' housing is never that Norman. Admit it Norman, you're a failure. As are the liars at 'Victory' Housing.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    neilkemp1969

    Monday, June 30, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Norfolk Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 11°C

Five-day forecast

loading...

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT