Rising house prices ‘disastrous’ for first time buyers in East Devon

PUBLISHED: 11:01 23 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:01 23 November 2018

House prices in the area increased by 1.6 per cent in September. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images

House prices in the area increased by 1.6 per cent in September. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images

Andrew Matthews/PA Wire/PA Images

A recent rise in house prices in East Devon is ‘disastrous’ for first time buyers, according to an Exmouth estate agent.

House prices in the area increased by 1.6 per cent in September, contributing to a 3.6 per cent rise over the last 12 months.

The latest data from the Office of National Statistics shows the average property in the area sold for £286,529, significantly higher than the UK average of £232,554.

Across the South West, property prices have risen by 4.3 per cent in the last year, to £260,142.

The data comes from the House Price Index, which the ONS compiles using house sale information from the Land Registry.

The average homeowner in East Devon will have seen their property jump in value by around £53,000 in the last five years.

“A further increase in regional house prices makes positive reading, but in reality is disastrous for first time purchasers, and those already on the property ladder with ambitions to enhance their living accommodation,” said Exmouth estate agent Sarah Dunn.

“Having been working within the property industry for 34 years I personally have never seen so few first time buyers. Banks and building societies have pulled up their drawbridges and need to relax their lending criteria.

“Rents are totally disproportionate to the average monthly mortgage payment, and most first time buyers’ capacity to save is eaten away in high rents. Our next generation of first time buyers have been forced into rented accommodation for well over a decade now - new homes values are far too high.

“National developers need to start building ‘starter homes’ again, not small two bedroom houses crammed into small spaces, with no parking, and starting prices of £300,000.”

The figures also showed that buyers who made their first step onto the property ladder in East Devon in September spent an average of £220,486, around £40,000 more than it would have cost them five years ago.

Between August last year and July this year, the most recent 12 months for which sales volume data is available, 2,977 homes were sold in East Devon, 6 per cent fewer than in the previous year.

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