National Parks are expensive places to work and live in. We know that first-hand.

News just released that to live in one of the UK’s 15 National Parks costs an average 11 times the salary of a resident there.

There is variation between costs given that it is quoted as an average – but it must be disconcerting for people from those areas, trying to buy there, that 11 times the salary is unachievable, given mortgage lending criteria.

The New Forest is the most expensive national park – 14.2 x salary, whilst Snowdonia (still at 6.2 x average income) is the most “affordable”.

So what causes this?

  • Second home owners? We lived just in the Peak District in 1999, between Leek and Ashbourne in Waterhouses and the small estate we bought on had second home residents. Even back then, the 4 bed limestone property we bought was expensive compared with prices in other parts of Staffordshire.
  • The cachet of living in a National Park? I think there’s some truth in this – many people are image conscious, which we are to an extent.
  • Shortage of properties? Building controls seemed to us much tighter in National Parks, and arguably rightly so? The new build development we bought on had just 10 houses: 6 detached and 4 semi-detached properties. Supply and demand impacts always on prices.

These figures are brought into stark reality when I examine property prices, here, on the east coast of Norfolk. Property prices in Gorleston and Great Yarmouth are lower on average: NR30 averages out at £144,000 (£20,000 below Snowdonia) and NR31 hits a higher £176,000 average.

Salaries here average £24,000 per annum – much lower than the rest of the East of England, which still means an average wage earner in Great Yarmouth needs to find a mortgage equal to more than 6 times their salary – for the average property.

And, just like anywhere else, locally prices vary massively – Burgh Castle is the most expensive area to live in (blame the Roman fort?) whereas parts of central Yarmouth and Gorleston can see properties selling for under £70,000 – a marked contrast to areas like Norwich and Cambridge.

 

Now what I’m hoping for is that residents of areas perceived as “better” than the coast can catch the mood music and see Yarmouth and Gorleston as a more affordable alternative to expensive cities and villages.

Hastings, Deal, Margate, I read today, are booming as Brighton is now unaffordable – with prices matching central London.

Norwich first time buyers need to look east towards us to save £100,000 on the average property price for there and here.

We’d recommend coastal living.

It’s as good as National Parks, just without the label, mountains or costs.