House price divide puts strain on rural villagers

Aldbury - by Jason Hawkes
Aldbury - by Jason Hawkes

VILLAGERS are being priced out of the property market by a lack of affordable homes, a new report suggests.

The Countryside Alliance found that only 28 per cent of the housing need in Dacorum was met in the financial year to April 5, 2011.

In a survey, Dacorum Borough Council found that 710 new homes would be needed to cope with an expanding population that year. But only 197 were built, the group said.

It said that in rural regions, first-time buyers account for 27 per cent of all buyers – compared to 45 per cent in urban areas.

But rural workers earn £4,655 less than the national average and average house prices there are 5.4 times the UK average annual salary, the report continued.

Alan Hoare, 46, from Vicarage Road, Potten End, rents out a two-bedroom Hemel Hempstead house for about £700 per month.

But he expects a new three-bedroom home he is buying in Potten End will fetch between £1,300 and £1,500 per month.

He said: “How one affords this rent, I do not know.

“It is very difficult for a landlord, because this is your livelihood and you want to maximise your income – but then you feel guilty about it.”

Buy this week’s Berkhamsted & Tring Gazette for the full story - including a break-down of property prices in your local towns and villages. The newspaper is on sale now.

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