Our young people are being priced out of their area.

We all hear stories that property prices going down recently, and that local prices are below the national average, yet it doesn’t feel that this truly reflects the experiences of our local young people and families who are looking to get on the house purchase ladder.

A great many of us are concerned that house building in “Greater Deal”, embracing Upper Walmer, Great Mongeham, Sholden and our other local villages, provide nothing that is truly affordable to meet local housing need. Larger properties dominate developments, affordable to those looking to move to the area from London and its Home Counties, but not to those who were born and bred locally most of whom are not employed in jobs they receive a decent salary for.

We’re even seeing developers seeking retrospective approval to remove the affordable units from their developments because they affect the viability of their development, such as at Cross Road in Upper Walmer. It is common gossip that for “viability” you should read “profit margins”.

So, let’s try to make sense of these conflicting perspectives by comparing reliable sources. And just maybe we’ll reach the true picture!

Dover District Averages v Deal-specific statistics

As a starting point for this exercise, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) provides accurate figures that come directly from house purchase data such as the Land Registry. Accurate though they are, it’s also fair to say that they are maybe a couple of months behind the current selling/purchasing trend as it takes a while for these completions to process through the Registry system.

But, most significant to seeking to understand the local picture, it does not break down the data on house prices to a smaller area than District Council, so Dover’s figures include much cheaper areas such as Dover itself, Aylesham, and the ever-growing Whitfield.

According to ONS, the average house price in Dover was £287,000 in February 2024 down 7.1% from February 2023, and steeper than the fall in the South-East (2.1%) over the same period. There is more information available here …. Housing prices in Dover (ons.gov.uk) at 17th April 2024.

The Deal-specific figures

  • Overall Average Price: Properties in Deal had an overall average price of £381,148 over the last year, with most sales being terraced properties, selling for an average price of £387,193. Semi-detached properties sold for an average of £346,929, but detached properties fetched £559,096. Overall, sold prices in Deal over the last year were similar to the previous year and 9% higher than the 2021 peak of £348,493 according to Right Move.
  • Recent Average Price: In the past 6 months, the average house price in Deal was £428,497, with detached houses fetching an average of £800,000 and flats averaging £167,000 according to Get Agent.
  • Long-Term Trends: Over the last 5 years, the average property price in Deal increased by £126,449 (46.69%), and over the last 12 months, it increased by £25,272 (6.79%). However, the number of residential property sales decreased by 47.08% relative to the previous year according to Property Solvers.

These figures represent averages, and obviously actual prices vary based on property type, location, and other factors. But it does paint a very different picture to that for Dover District overall and lends itself to support those people arguing that Deal and its surroundings are different and is being treated in a manner that doesn’t meet the needs of its existing residents and their communities.