My monthly column has, on more than one occasion lately, touched on the concerns shared by most of us these days about the struggle our youngsters face to get that first foothold on the housing ladder. Times continue to be tough for first time buyers, though mortgage deals are improving a little with the Bank of England’s Funding for Lending initiative.
This month however, my thoughts have turned to the upper echelons of the market. A national firm of house-builders has finally commenced work at the old reservoir site on Sutton Park Road, on a development of 14 five and six bedroom executive homes. As well as being a positive sign of growing economic confidence, I feel this is pretty good news for the town in general.
Kidderminster is not particularly well blessed with lots of large, luxurious and individual, upmarket homes. This in turn means that the town does not tend to attract great numbers of wealthy and affluent incomers, because there is not a lot here for them, in the property sense at least.
This is a great pity, because the Wyre Forest district actually offers so many benefits that ought to attract people. It is surrounded by beautiful countryside including the Severn Valley. It offers easy commuting to Birmingham, Worcester, the West Midlands and the motorway network, by road and by rail, and it has a relatively low crime rate.
In fact the district ticks a lot more boxes than many other towns, and objectively should be seen as a good place for discerning buyers to come and live. The real problem is that we just don’t have anything like the choice of top quality expensive modern housing that might be found in places like Hagley, or certain parts of Stourbridge for example. Presumably, if we had hundreds more people with high levels of disposable income coming to live in this area, it would certainly benefit our local economy, particularly for businesses such as restaurants, the leisure sector and quality retail shops.
But whereabouts would these well-heeled newcomers be likely to want to live? According to Land Registry data based on all house sales recorded since January 1995, there are several leafy lanes in Blakedown, Churchill, Chaddesley and Broome where sale prices average £700,000 - £750,000. But the clear winner and undisputed premier address in the DY10/11/12/13 postcode area is - wait for it - New Wood Lane at Blakedown with an average property value of £909,929.
In Kidderminster itself, the number one spot is held by Barnetts Grove, with an average price of £565,524, whilst the runners-up medal goes to Whitehill Road with an average sale price of £550,775.
St Johns Lane in Bewdley (£488,075) and Bower Bank in Stourport (£451,869) are the top addresses in those towns, though out at rural Heightington, you’ll need to spend an average £642,476 to live on Deasland Lane.
Next month I shall reveal the local addresses where property is at its most affordable – essential reading for all you first time buyers!