Norwich house price boom pushing buyers away from NR2
7:30 AM May 18, 2022
City folk face being priced out of the housing market, estate agents have warned.
But despite the boom demand is outstripping supply – pushing up prices even further.
Now experts are warning ordinary families face being unable to afford to live in the city in years to come.
The current spike kicked off when stamp duty was relaxed in 2020 in response to the Covid pandemic. And now more people are relocating to Norwich and Norfolk for “a better quality of life”.
Estate agents are reporting that the average house price in Norwich is £275,000 – which is the highest since records began.
Average terraced house are starting at £250,000 in NR2 and £200,000 in NR3 but rises were prevalent across the city and its suburbs, according to Steve Pymm, managing director of Pymm & Co Estate Agents.
He said: “NR2 has always been the more expensive part for Victorian terraces and semi-detached but we have seen them go up 20pc over the last 18 months. It isn’t just in NR2 though. We have seen a 15-20pc 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 is out of their price bracket.
“An NR2 terraced house valued at £250,000 tends to be a second purchase for a couple who are both working in £40,000-a-year jobs. First-time buyers in NR2 no longer exist because a terraced house is out of reach. They could afford a flat if they are lucky.
“The current growth is unsustainably unhealthy for long-term stability but it will start to calm. It is important for people to have their own home. There needs to be shared ownership so people have the chance.”
Mr Pymm added 70pc of prospective buyers were from out of 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 stamp duty holiday kicked things into action.
“We have a variety of buyers. There are also first-time buyers who wanted to purchase in 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 house prices. History tells us the increases have to stop but the demand will continue into next year. I don’t think there will be a crash.”
He said the only way some people could afford a house was to link up with friends or a relative or have to use cash from parents and grandparents which was a message reiterated by Kris Pearce, branch manager of Minors & Brady Estate Agents in Unthank Road.
“First-time buyers are being outpriced. It is difficult. I have sympathy for these buyers because of the lack of stock,” he said.
“The pandemic created a vacuum of interest of people who wanted to move. People wanted to do something normal because we could not go on holiday but people who could work could save.”
He added prices were snowballing because people were outbidding each other.
Lorna Marsh, editor and University of East Anglia student who has rented in NR2 since 2004, said the only way she can afford to buy is through a shared ownership in the suburbs.
Ms Marsh, who lives in Stafford Street with her 24-year-old son, said: “I would be able to afford the mortgage payments but could not raise the deposit. It is incredibly frustrating.
“I am no worse off through renting now compared to if I was buying but when I retire my biggest worry is where rent would come from.
“Renting is becoming more of a thing for lots of people. I feel awful for young families. Affordable housing should be given to people in a civilised society. The bottom rung of the property ladder has gone.”
She felt lucky with her landlords but added there was an issue with career landlords pushing rents up.
Family influence on Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle is one of Norwich’s most sought-after spots to bag a property because of its rows of Victorian homes and proximity to green spaces.
It was part of the Unthank estate owned by William Unthank from 1793.
He moved outside the walls of the medieval city and the family amassed about 2,500 acres of land, including farmland to the south and west of Norwich as well as their Heigham Estate that stretched from St Giles’ Gate south to Eaton.
The Unthanks had already begun to sell off parcels of their Heigham Estate for housing but this was accelerated when Mr Unthanks son, Clement, moved out to Intwood in 1855.
He inspired the name of Unthank Road and most of the buildings were Victorian terraces and town houses, largely constructed between the 1840s and early 1900s.