Young buyers being priced out of Chichester

A generation of young people in Chichester face being locked out of the housing market, according to a report confirming it among the south east’s most expensive places to live.

The National Federation of Housing’s latest figures reveal that property prices in the city are nearly 20 times the area’s average income.

With the average house price in Chichester being £349,445, those trying to gain a foothold on the property ladder face an uphill struggle as mortgage lenders tighten their belts and demand 25 percent deposits.

As an Observer investigation revealed this summer, many young people within the area have expressed fears over being able to stay in the area due to the considerable cost of living in Chichester.

Serious concerns remain despite housing prices having fallen just under 20 percent over the past three years, and the efforts of developers offering finance deals for new properties.

Warren Finney, lead south east manager for the Housing Federation, believed urgent action was required, especially considering Chichester’s low average wage of £17,997 against a county average of £22,870.

He said: “There’s simply no cheap place to live in West Sussex, where the average worker must save every penny from their pre-tax salary for over three years just to raise the almost £68,000 deposit for the average price house. The only answer is more affordable homes.

“There’s a whole generation of young people who are left scratching their heads thinking there’s no option for them. The concerning thing is that it is affecting different groups of people. From those on low incomes being unable to get on the housing ladder, we now have a scenario where it’s affecting those on middle incomes who cannot access finance.”

Councillor Janet Duncton, cabinet member for housing and planning at Chichester District Council, said: “We are currently working on a number of projects that aim to respond to the gap between earnings and house prices in the district.

“When new homes aren’t being built, it leads to an increase in prices. This affects the private rental sector as well as homes for sale or for rent via a registered provider.”