New town cheapest in country

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PETERLEE has been named as the cheapest new town in the whole country to live in, according to a nationwide survey.

The East Durham town, which was founded in 1948, is at the top of a league table of affordability for places created under the New Towns Act following the Second World War.

It has the lowest price to earnings ratio, as the average house price is £86,427, which is 3.2 times the gross average earnings and well below the national average of £182,354.

House prices in Peterlee are 38 per cent below the average for the North-East and according to the survey, by Lloyds TSB, housing affordability is at its best since the financial crisis began in 2007.

Marion Barrett, manager of the Peterlee branch of Kimmitt & Roberts estate agents, said: “Historically, Peterlee has always been a little bit cheaper to live in than other outside areas.

“We are only three miles from Seaham properties there are much more expensive.

“Peterlee is good for commuting as it’s so near to the A19, so it’s a really popular choice.”

The Lloyds TSB survey says that the improvement in affordability over the past five years is down to an increase in average earnings, which has risen by an average of nine per cent across new towns.

But the survey also found that by contrast, house prices in new towns have been broadly unchanged in the past five years.

The second-most affordable new town is Skelmersdale, in Lancashire, followed by Newton Aycliffe.

Washington was another North-East town in the top 10 of affordability, placed as the eighth cheapest.

The least affordable new town was Hatfield, in Hertfordshire, where the house price to earnings ratio is 8.2.

New towns in England and Wales were created under various New Towns Acts after the Second World War.

The first wave in the 1940s was intended to help alleviate the housing shortages following the war beyond the green belt around London.

The second and third waves aimed to help relieve and allow additional growth further north.

These new towns were not in fact new, but developed around historic core sites.