Beauty spot prices have shot right up

Kent Messenger Maidstone - West Kent Property - - NEWS -

House prices in Kent beauty spots have rock­eted faster in the past decade than in other parts of the county, ac­cord­ing to new re­search. Kent Downs Area of Out­stand­ing Nat­u­ral Beauty (AONB) has seen the high­est per­cent­age in­crease (115%), beaten only by the Northum­ber­land Coast and Sol­way Coast (both at 124%). Kent Downs is the na­tion’s third most ex­pen­sive AONB with an av­er­age house price of £320,090, only beaten by the High Weald in Kent and Sus­sex (£329,441) and Sur­rey Hills (£407,568). The cost of homes in Kent Downs AONB shot up from £148,970 to £320,090 in the past 10 years. But the rapid hike – faster than the rise in av­er­age earn­ings – is pric­ing many peo­ple liv­ing and work­ing in th­ese places out of the hous­ing mar­ket. Lloyds TSB sur­veyed the coun­try’s 32 AONBs and found the av­er­age in­crease was 87% – from £125,860 in 2002 to £235,215 in 2012, equiv­a­lent to a monthly rise of £911. In Kent Downs, the monthly rise was £1,426. The hike in the typ­i­cal AONB prop­erty price since 2002 was nearly three times the 32% in­crease in av­er­age earn­ings over the same pe­riod. The av­er­age AONB house price is typ­i­cally seven times higher than av­er­age gross annual earn­ings, up from a mul­ti­ple of 4.9 in 2002. The For­est of Bow­land (£212,301) is the most ex­pen­sive AONB out­side south­ern Eng­land. Lincolnshire Wolds (£128,608) and Can­nock Chase (£136,774) are the only two AONBs in the sur­vey with an av­er­age house price be­low £150,000. Suren Thiru, Lloyds TSB hous­ing econ­o­mist, said: “The rel­a­tively high prop­erty val­ues in many of th­ese lo­ca­tions re­flect the qual­ity of life ben­e­fits as­so­ci­ated with liv­ing in some of our most idyl­lic beauty spots. “How­ever, the fact that prop­erty prices have typ­i­cally risen con­sid­er­ably faster than av­er­age earn­ings has cre­ated sig­nif­i­cant af­ford­abil­ity dif­fi­cul­ties for many of those liv­ing and work­ing in such lo­ca­tions.”

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