High house prices in Chichester ‘do not help local people’


House prices in Chichester are now nearly 13 times the average salary of a person working in the district, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The median house price in Chichester was £365,000 in 2018, far above the £250,000 ceiling to qualify for a Help-to-Buy bonus payment.

Campaign group Save our Harbour Villages (SOHV), which is calling for a halt to house-building on the peninsula and harbour areas, pointed to the figures as a reason why new housing was not serving local communities.

He said: “SOHV recognises house builders want to maximise profits but a significant number of local people can’t afford to buy the expensive homes currently on offer, even with help from their families or finance.

“Critically, if we want to ensure we don’t lose young professionals, families and our older generation westward, we need to be building more affordable homes right now.

“A price tag of £250,000 is a good start, whether for sale or rent.”

It comes after a JPIMedia Investigations team found Chichester had one of the lowest rates for Help to Buy homes in Sussex at just 93 homes sold under the scheme.

By comparision, 316 Help to Buy homes were sold in the Arun district during the same period.

A spokesman for the SOHV campaign group said it was hardly surprising that local people were moving out of the area.

In Havant or Arun, homes cost nine to ten times the median workplace earnings and in Portsmouth, the ratio is just over seven times a salary.

The group added that one reason the housing market was pricing people out was that developers were building larger three, four and five bedroom houses, rather than flats, apartments and starter homes.

Jane Towers, from SOHV, said: “More affordable one and two beds homes is what local people want from housing developers, as well as more apartments and retirement flats.

“These are the type of homes Chichester needs in order to thrive and grow, not big houses more suited to second-homers.

“Chichester council should also be looking to build their own houses, exactly as they do in places like Crawley.”

Have you struggled to buy? Write to us and tell us your views at letters@chiobserver.co.uk