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Youngsters 'priced out' as New Forest stays most expensive national park to live

Houses for sale in Gosport Lane in Lyndhurst (Photo: stock image)
Houses for sale in Gosport Lane in Lyndhurst (Photo: stock image)

YOUNG people are being priced out of the New Forest, the district’s housing chief has warned, after the national park topped the table again for the highest property costs in England and Wales.

The average local price tag was £643,371 during the first half of 2019, according to Land Registry research carried out by Lloyds Bank – almost double the Hampshire average of £317,426.

The New Forest has been listed as the most expensive national park to buy in by every annual Lloyds Bank report since 2014.

Second on the list this year was the nearby South Downs National Park where the average price was £585,538.

Affordable housing has been rising up the agenda locally as both the New Forest National Park and surrounding New Forest District Council have been working on new Local Plans, setting out housing targets and development rules up to 2036.

The NPA recently had its policies signed off to supply 800 new homes. Rules include limits on the size of houses to boost the supply of smaller properties, as well as an affordable target of 50% for applications adding three or more dwellings.

Although the national park authority is responsible for meeting housing targets within its boundaries, it is New Forest District Council which has the duty to house homeless people across the area.

Cllr Jill Cleary is the Conservative cabinet member for housing. She said: “I think house prices have a huge impact locally because unfortunately we now have so many people incoming – it’s a magical area to live in.

“Particularly in the New Forest villages the youngsters are being priced out. If you want a village to survive you need the youth in the village. I would love to be able to wave a magic wand and be able to buy commoners’ cottages and keep the young people here.

“We will lose the skills of the New Forest if we’re not careful. If someone wants a farrier, a thatcher or coal delivered – we will not have the skillset.”

She added: “I do not know, if you have a solution let me know. Try as I might, I do not think I will be the one to solve the problem of house prices going up. People invest in bricks and mortar – hell, so have I.”

There are currently more than 3,000 people on NFDC’s housing list. It is aiming to deliver 600 new council homes by 2026 outside the national park.

The average national park house price in England and Wales is £394,141 – nearly 50% higher than surrounding counties.

Lloyds Bank mortgages director Andrew Mason said: "While living in a national park comes with the attraction of some of the most picturesque parts of the country, this comes with a premium price tag to house hunters, particularly those who work locally and may have difficulty in affording a home in the same area.”

The two cheapest national parks were in Wales where Snowdonia had an average price of £198,475, and the Brecon Beacons £231,167.

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