Norfolk house prices have become dramatically less affordable over the past 25 years, new data suggests. 

The disparity between local property prices compared with income is becoming larger, according to annual figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Affordability has worsened in all seven of Norfolk’s council authority areas with changes in house prices the main cause.

Eastern Daily Press:

Housing affordability estimates are calculated by dividing house prices by annual earnings. This ratio is used to compare affordability over time.   

Though local wages have doubled since 1997, the rising cost of homes in Norfolk has drastically exceeded earnings, increasing by 417pc.

Eastern Daily Press:

The disparity between earnings and house prices is most severe in north Norfolk, where the median wage is £28,208 and the average home costs £300,000. In 1997, median earnings were £13,660 and the average home was £55,000.  

It means real estate in north Norfolk now costs 10.64 times as much as local annual wages. Back in 1997, that figure was just 4.03. 

This compares to a 2022 national average of 8.3.

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Eastern Daily Press: Duncan Baker is the Conservative MP for North NorfolkDuncan Baker is the Conservative MP for North Norfolk (Image: Supplied)

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker said: "Providing housing that can be affordable to constituents across north Norfolk continues to be one of the biggest challenges in my region. North Norfolk is an idyllic, holiday hotspot and after the pandemic the property market has been turbocharged with people moving into the area and in many cases retiring here. 

"It is well known that my constituency has the highest age demographic in the country and one third of all residents are over 65. There have been significant measures recently to help the area by trying to tackle second homes. More recently, the planning class changes will similarly try and help the high proliferation of holiday lets. 

"What we need is to of course support people by building more homes that are affordable, not just to rent but to buy also," he added. "Coupled with this we need to drive higher quality, skilled jobs that will help families with higher earning potential." 

Eastern Daily Press:

The average home in Norwich sold for £228,500 in the 12 months ending September 2022, while average full-time earnings were £29,185. 

Full-time employees in Norwich could expect to spend around 7.8 times their annual earnings when buying a home in 2022.

Eastern Daily Press: Clive Lewis is the Labour MP for Norwich SouthClive Lewis is the Labour MP for Norwich South (Image: UK Parliament)

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis said: "It's become almost impossible for local people doing everyday jobs to get a big enough mortgage to afford a house. Far too many are left with no other option but to pay exorbitant private rents for often poor-quality accommodation.

"We've got here because houses have become assets first and homes second in the last few decades. But the clear evidence is that building more homes or handing public cash to banks via schemes like Help to Buy won't solve this. The problem of inflated prices lies in property speculation. We must clamp down on that with proven measures like Germany's property speculation tax."

Eastern Daily Press: Chloe Smith is the Conservative MP for Norwich NorthChloe Smith is the Conservative MP for Norwich North (Image: UK Parliament)

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith said: "I hear from so many local people who are desperate for their own home. This includes many who are renting and many of the thousands who are on the council waiting lists. 

"While I welcome that Norfolk is doing better than the national average, these figures starkly illustrate the challenge that people face in trying to achieve that dream," Chloe added.  

"Fundamentally this is why we do need to build more homes, and so in general we need to get on with good development in our area to allow local people the home they dream of." 

Breckland, Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn, north Norfolk and south Norfolk became slightly more affordable than in 2021, while houses in the Broadland local authority remained the same. 

Nationally, housing affordability improved in 71pc of local authorities in England and Wales compared with 2021, when increases in house prices corresponded with a surge in market activity and changes in Stamp Duty Land Tax and Land Transaction Tax.  

In 1997, 89pc of local authorities in England and Wales had an affordability ratio lower than five times workers’ earnings. Only 7pc had this level of affordability in 2022. 

Eastern Daily Press: Brown&Co King’s Lynn residential manager Lee ShuardsonBrown&Co King’s Lynn residential manager Lee Shuardson (Image: Brown&Co)

Brown&Co King’s Lynn residential manager Lee Shuardson said: “It is well-known that certain areas in Norfolk have become less affordable for local people. This is not unique to Norfolk, however, because house price variations exist in every county.

"Many areas of Norfolk still do offer affordable options for locals to reside in the towns and villages they grew up in.” 

Eastern Daily Press: Minors & Brady managing director Jamie MinorsMinors & Brady managing director Jamie Minors (Image: Minors & Brady)

Minors & Brady managing director Jamie Minors said: “We have seen, and still are seeing, a consistent wave of people moving here. We need to ensure we are building enough homes to match demand, to keep prices from rising too high.

"With a range of low-level housing stock available, it gives first-time buyers a better opportunity to get on the ladder.”