Second homes more than one-third of seaside town's properties

Wells harbour. Picture: Mike Page

House prices in Wells have rocketed in recent years - Credit: Mike Page

More than one-third of all properties in a Norfolk seaside town are second homes, a survey has found.

And the price of a house in Wells is more than 14 times the average household income.

Early results from a housing needs survey by Wells Town Council, Holkham Estate, Walsingham Estate and Homes for Wells has found the proportion of second homes in the town has reached record levels of 37pc.

Wells quay bathed in afternoon sunshine. Picture: Ian Burt

Wells Town Council is currently in the process of drawing up its neighbourhood plan - Credit: Archant

The surveys, which are due to be completed by the end of the month and have been conducted to help inform the Wells Neighbourhood Plan surveyed employers, employees and residents on housing issues.

The surveys found the average gross income of a Wells household to be £38,550 yet median house prices in the town are estimated to be around £557,500 as of 2020.

Roger Arguile, chairman of the Wells neighbourhood plan working party, said one of the biggest challenges for the town, when forming its neighbourhood plan was providing genuinely affordable housing for the local population.

He said; "I know of people who have moved to Fakenham because they might be able to afford a rabbit hutch in Wells but they can afford a family house in Fakenham or King's Lynn."

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Mr Arguile said the availability of genuinely affordable housing for the local population was a "matter of constant concern".

He said: "You get to a point where a town becomes less than viable.

"We have got people who have got lots of money for whom buying a house of £700,000 is not a problem. There are houses going for serious numbers of over £1m but if you're earning £38,500 a year, then you don't stand a chance of anything bigger than a beach hut."

David Fennell, chairman of Homes for Wells, which have launched a Crowdfunder to help buy two social

David Fennell, chairman of Homes for Wells, which have launched a Crowdfunder to help buy two social housing flats in Wells-next-Sea. Picture: David Fennell - Credit: Archant

David Fennell, chairman of Homes For Wells, echoed Mr Arguile's concerns over the availability of realistically affordable housing. He said those in the town earning the minimum wage, £38,500 was far above their income.

He said: "Thirty years ago the great future was tourism. Tourism has been a fabulous success for Wells but don't let it be to the extent of pushing out everything we need in the town. It's just become so big that it needs to be contained and we need to develop what comes next," he said.

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