7:30 a.m. May 18, 2022
City dwellers risk being squeezed out of the housing market, estate agents have warned.
But despite the boom, demand outstrips supply, pushing prices even higher.
Now experts are warning ordinary families of not being able to afford to live in the city for years to come.
The current peak started when the stamp duty was relaxed in 2020 in response to the Covid pandemic. And now more and more people are moving to Norwich and Norfolk for ‘a better quality of life’.
Estate agents report that the average house price in Norwich is £275,000 – the highest since records began.
Average terraced homes start at £250,000 in NR2 and £200,000 in NR3, but hikes were widespread across the city and its suburbs, according to Steve Pymm, managing director of Pymm & Co Estate Agents.
He said: “NR2 has always been the most expensive part for Victorian terraces and semi-detached, but we have seen them increase by 20% over the last 18 months. It’s not just in NR2 though. We have seen a 15-20% increase in prices over the same period across the suburbs.”
“For the local population, I don’t think a first-time buyer can buy in NR2. It’s out of their price range.
“A £250,000 NR2 terraced house tends to be a second purchase for a couple who are both working £40,000 a year jobs. First-time buyers in NR2 no longer exist as a house terraced house is out of reach.They could afford an apartment if they are lucky.
“The current growth is unsustainable and unhealthy for long-term stability, but it will start to subside. It’s important that people have their own homes. There needs to be shared ownership for people to have a chance.”
Mr Pymm added that 70% of potential buyers were from Norfolk, including Essex, Hertfordshire and London.
Wil Barber, owner of Drayton-based William’s Way Estate Agents, said: “House prices have gone crazy since the pandemic and the stamp duty holiday kicked off.
“We have a variety of buyers. There are also first-time buyers who wanted to buy during the pandemic but were worried. Now there is pent-up demand. We are struggling with the lack of supply.
“Wages are not keeping pace with property prices. History tells us the increases have to stop, but demand will continue next year. I don’t think there will be a crash. “
He said the only way for some people to afford a home was to bond with friends or a relative or have to use money from their parents and grandparents, a message reiterated by Kris Pearce, director of branch of Minors & Brady Estate Agents at Unthank Road.
“Early buyers are overpriced. It’s tough. I have sympathy for those buyers because of the lack of inventory,” he said.
“The pandemic created a vacuum of interest from people who wanted to move. People wanted to do something normal because you couldn’t go on vacation but people who could work could save.”
He added that the prices were snowballing because people were outbidding each other.
Lorna Marsh, editor and student at the University of East Anglia who has rented from NR2 since 2004, said the only way she could afford to buy was a suburban condominium.
Ms Marsh, who lives in Stafford Street with her 24-year-old son, said: “I would be able to pay the mortgage payments but I couldn’t increase the deposit. It’s incredibly frustrating.
“I’m no worse off renting now than if I were buying, but when I retire my biggest worry is where the rent would come from.
“Renting is becoming more of a thing for a lot of people. I feel bad for young families. Affordable housing should be given to people in a civilized society. The bottom rung of the property ladder is gone. “
She felt lucky with her landlords, but added there was a problem with career landlords driving up rents.
Family influence on the Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle is one of Norwich’s most desirable places to buy property due to its rows of Victorian houses and its proximity to green space.
It was part of the Unthank estate owned by William Unthank from 1793.
He moved outside the medieval city walls and the family amassed around 2,500 acres of land, including farmland south and west of Norwich as well as their Heigham estate which stretched from St Giles’ Gate south to Eaton.
The Unthanks had already begun selling plots of their Heigham estate for housing, but this accelerated when Mr Unthanks’ son Clement moved to Intwood in 1855.
It inspired the name Unthank Road and most of the buildings were Victorian terraces and townhouses, largely built between the 1840s and early 1900s.