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Young buyers priced out of the West

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: August 20, 2014

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West Country homebuyers have less chance of being able to afford a house on their doorstep than those living in London according to a survey out yesterday.

Although house prices in London soared by nearly 20 per cent last year, nearly 20 areas of the West remain pricier for buyers.

And as average UK house prices reached a record £265,000, it's not just celebrity boltholes in the Cotswolds which have seen property soar out of the reach of local people.

When it comes to realistic purchasing power, the average West Country buyer has less chance of affording a house in parts of Somerset, Wiltshire, Dorset, Devon, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire than their counterparts in London, according to the survey.

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Yesterday the Office for National Statistics said average house prices across the country increased by 10.2 per cent in the 12 months to June to reach a new record high of £265,000

Property values in London have continued to increase around twice as quickly as those across the UK, with the capital seeing a 19.3 per cent jump in prices over the same period.

The average house price in London is now just shy of half a million pounds, at £499,000.

But ONS said that house prices are increasing strongly across most parts of the UK"and another survey by the BBC used figures from the National Housing Federation (NHF) and HM Land Registry to show that when salaries are taken into account, 62 English local authority areas are pricier than London.

According to the NHF, last year some people in the countryside found it harder than buyers in London to find somewhere they could afford to live. Their figures show the average house in London cots ten times the average salary compared to 19 in the Cotswolds. Purbeck in Dorset, and South Hams in Devon are also in the top ten least afforable places to live.

Yesterday the BBC visited Mike Golding who was selling a two-bedroom, first-floor flat in Stow-on-the-Wold, in the Cotswolds where average salaries are £18,075 and property prices £344,614.

Despite not having a garden or stunning countryside views he told the cameras: "I shall be disappointed if I only get £550,000 for it."

Anna Wright who runs a tea shop in the town with her mother said she and her boyfriend have been priced out of town and shop worker Nicola O'Driscoll, 21, told how she had been forced to look for a flat 18 miles away in Cheltenham.

"It's really unfair," she said. " I feel like they don't want youngsters to live around here. Because there's no way they can."

The NHF said part of the problem in the West Country is the high number of second homes.

Chief executive David Orr said: "The traditional picture of the English countryside is fast becoming extinct."

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