Wetherby’s house prices 136 per cent higher than the Leeds average

First time buyers looking at houses for sale in an estate agents window.
First time buyers looking at houses for sale in an estate agents window.

A staggering difference of 136 per cent between average house prices in Wetherby and in Leeds has caused concern among councillors objecting to plans for Spofforth Hill.

According to the most recent assessment, carried out by regeneration charity Re’new in December 2013, a house in Wetherby costs £419,975 compared to the Leeds average of £177,411 - a difference of £242,564.

This means that between 25 per cent and 33 per cent of local people cannot access housing in Wetherby, according to employment and income levels.

These figures came to light in a Leeds City Council (LCC) plans panel that voted in favour of a development for 325 homes at Spofforth Hill.

Agreements made between LCC and developers Bellway Homes would see only 49 affordable homes built on the site - 15 per cent instead of the proposed 35 per cent, with £8.5million going to affordable housing elsewhere.

At the meeting Wetherby Coun John Procter challenged the reasons for this and said: “The report shows a dramatic need and says most people who aren’t within a certain income bracket can’t afford to live here.

“What the piece of work does is show that to be able to afford a house in Wetherby you need a single income of over £100,000 a year and a joint income of £130,000 a year to afford an averaged priced house.

“A joint income of £40,000 is needed to buy a single bed flat, and the market rent in Wetherby is an average of £541 a month.

“Is there a need in Wetherby for affordable housing? I would have thought the answer to that is yes according to the report.”

Though the figures demonstrate a dramatic lack of affordable housing in Wetherby, the money from the Spofforth Hill development will be put to use delivering affordable housing in other parts of the LCC-controlled area.

According to LCC’s executive member for neighbourhoods, planning, and personnel Coun Peter Gruen, however, it is needed more elsewhere due to the lower than average demand in Wetherby where fewer people are bidding for homes.

He told the Wetherby News: “Because it is an outer area the percentage of affordable houses on the Spofforth Hill site matches the 15 per cent in places like Roundhay and Meanwood, so we are still saying we will give that 15 per cent and it is on a par with other outer areas.

“We are trying to take an overview of what is best for the whole of Leeds and we can kickstart development on some brownfield sites by using that additional 20 per cent and that seems more equitable.

“As somebody who is asked to care about the city as a whole I should be bringing some element of growth across Leeds.

“There is still delivery at Spofforth Hill and we are using the excess in the rest of the city, and I would appeal to people’s sense of fairness that that is the right thing to do.”