North Norfolk housing woe

North Norfolk's ageing population and popularity with second home-owners are combining to price the district's first-time buyers out of the market.

Average house prices of �211,000 and spiralling private rents are making matters worse - leaving younger people unable to save enough money for their first mortgage.

The near-four-fold rise in house prices, from �60,000 in 1996, means first-time buyers need to be earning more than double the average salary to get on the housing ladder, according to a report.

The document published by the National Housing Federation has warned that an entire generation of prospective buyers is being 'locked out' of the county's housing market.

North Norfolk is listed in the report as the second most expensive area in the county to buy a house, with first-time buyers needing to be earning �45,285 to be able to afford a 75pc mortgage.

But the document shows the average Norfolk worker makes just �18,221 a year and would struggle to save a deposit, even for homes at the lower end of the property price range.

The group is now pushing for more affordable homes to be built to help the 21-30-year-old generation, who are finding it 'desperately hard' to buy a home.

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Claire Astbury, the federation's lead manager in east England, said: 'It's sad but Norfolk has become unaffordable for the average, hard working person who has little realistic chance of buying their own house, triggering even greater demand for good social housing or a desperate search for a home in the more expensive private rented sector.'

She believed north Norfolk's popularity as an area for second homes had contributed to pricing locals out of the market and its ageing population was also taking its toll on first time buyers.

'We'd all like to live longer and live healthier lives but ultimately what it means is new households are forming and there's not a house to accommodate them.'

North Norfolk was behind South Norfolk and just ahead of Broadland, where properties average �203,858.

Mrs Astbury added: 'We see that there will be fewer people able to own in the next two years and at the same time - and probably as a consequence - renting privately will become more expensive, which diminishes people's ability to save for a deposit.

'Anyone who's trying to move on or set up home in the forthcoming few years or beyond will find it even more of a struggle.'

In November Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg pledged to 'unstick' the housing market and give first time buyers a helping hand by revealing a package of measures to boost the property market.

Among their proposals was the introduction of a taxpayer-backed 95pc mortgage for newly built homes, which would cut the deposit needed for prospective buyers to 5pc. They also want to plough �400m into building up to 16,000 new homes by injecting investment into construction sites where work has stalled.