Second homes in Norfolk making house prices too high for local people

Areas in north Norfolk like Burnham Market saw the highest number of second homes, pushing up house

Areas in north Norfolk like Burnham Market saw the highest number of second homes, pushing up house prices, states a new report. Photo: Ian Burt, Archant.

There are so many second homes in Norfolk, particularly in the north of the county, that house prices are too high for locals, claims a new report by the National Housing Federation.

The number of second homes in Norfolk has reached an all-time high, reveals a new report today from the National Housing Federation.

The annual 'East of England Home Truths 2017/18' housing report shows that there are now over 13,000 second homes in Norfolk. This number has increased by 9 per cent since 2010 when records for second homes began.

The report also shows that two fifths of the total second homes in the entire East of England are in Norfolk. This compares with much lower numbers of second homes in Suffolk, where the total is less than half; with 6037 in the county, the highest number being in the Suffolk Coastal area which includes the popular 'Heritage coast' such as Southwold and Aldeburgh.

As a result of such high numbers of second homes, house prices have risen in the region. From 2007 to 2017, average house prices in Norfolk increased by over 30 per cent to a high of £236,430, with average house prices in the East of England having increased by 44 per cent, to an all-time high of £310,966. This makes the East of England the third most expensive region for housing in England.

The report also reveals:

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The highest concentration of second homes in Norfolk is in North Norfolk, where there are 5,359 second homes.

Households in Norfolk now need to earn £54,041 a year to afford an 80% mortgage. But average salaries are only £23,500.

Norfolk has seen a shortfall of 5,190 houses while nearly 3,200 homes are lying empty, contributing to high prices.

Meanwhile housing associations are working to end the region's crisis, completing over 4,000 new homes in 2016/17, and having started building another 5,000.

Sarah Finnegan, external affairs manager for the National Housing Federation, said: 'The high number of second homes in Norfolk has helped push prices up so they are out of reach for local people. If families and young people are priced out of their villages it can have a hugely damaging impact on community life. Village shops, schools and pubs are closing at alarming numbers. Unless we take action the countryside will increasingly become a place for the well off to enjoy at weekends.'

Nick Taylor, of estate agents Hadley Taylor, blamed the expense of holidays abroad for the second home boom in areas of Norfolk. He said: 'As a consequence, more and more families are holidaying in the UK. The other reason why people have been investing in second homes is that there are significant tax advantages in letting furnished holiday accommodation over shorthold tenancies.'