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Housing Affordability


Here you will find various figures pertaining to housing costs and affordability for Somerset and its constituent lower-tier local authority areas, as well as for the South West and England.

The table and chart above compare figures for housing affordability based on median property values and median wages. Click on any row in the table or any bar in the chart to highlight data for a specific area.

About the data

Median House Prices

According to figures from Land Registry the median house price in Somerset for the year ending September 2017 was £215,000. In the same year, the median house price in the South West was £239,000, whilst for England it was £230,000. In 2002 the median house price in Somerset was just £107,500. Therefore, between 2002 and 2017 the median house price in Somerset has doubled. Following the financial crisis, between 2008 and 2012, the median house price in Somerset fell marginally from £180,226 to £175,000, but it has increased in every other year since 2002.

In 2017, the median house price was highest in Mendip at £240,000. It has also increased by the greatest margin (115%) in Mendip between 2002 and 2017. Meanwhile the median house price was lowest in both Taunton Deane and Sedgemoor, where it stood at £205,000. However, between 2002 and 2017 it has increased more rapidly in Sedgemoor (109%) than in Taunton Deane (88%).

Affordability

In 2017, the estimated median gross annual (resident-based) earnings in Somerset was £26,532. The average for the South West was £27,537, whilst for England it was £29,085. This means that the ratio of median house price to median annual earnings in Somerset was 1:8.10. Put simply a typical house in Somerset costs more than eight times the typical annual wage. This compares to affordability ratios of 8.68 for the South West and 7.91 for England. Within Somerset housing is least affordable in West Somerset, where median prices are 10.64 times the median wage. Conversely, it is most affordable in Sedgemoor and Taunton Deane, where median prices are 7.83 and 7.88 times the median wage respectively.

Average House Prices

According to figures from Land Registry the average price of a property in Somerset as of January 2019 was £234,660, 0.3% higher than the UK average of £228,147. This represents a 2.8% increase on the previous year in Somerset, higher than the UK increase of 1.7%.

As of February 2002, the average house price in Somerset was £101,072. This means that despite a dip in prices during 2008 and 2009 following the financial crisis, prices have increased by 132% in Somerset. This is very similar to the picture for the UK, where the average house price in February 2002 was £101,164 and has increased by 126% to January 2019. The chart below shows how prices have changed between 2002 and 2019.

Average (mean) house prices, as reported above, provide a useful and timely indication of rises and falls in property prices across the country, albeit recognising that the housing stock will be different in different locations. However, in terms of understanding affordability, the median house price, compared with median earnings, gives a more meaningful picture, since it more closely reflects what we might call the ‘typical’ house price and compares it with more ‘typical’ earnings. This is because despite most of the housing stock being comprised of lower priced properties, the average remains higher than most properties would cost due to the existence of relatively fewer and yet much more expensive properties.

Source: ONS, Ratio to median house prise to median gross annual residence – based earnings – TABLES 1c, 3c, & 5c