A DRAMATIC rise in the number of £1m-plus properties in Yorkshire has spurred fresh calls for action to help families and young people unable to get on the housing ladder.
New figures released today show the number of exclusive properties rocketed across the region last year, South Yorkshire seeing the biggest rise with a 54 per cent increase in 1m-plus houses and 43 per cent rise in 2m-plus homes.
The figures, released by property website Primelocation.com, reveal that the number of 2m-plus properties in West Yorkshire has increased by 48 per cent and 1m-plus by 37 per cent.
In North Yorkshire, which traditionally has some of the most expensive house prices in the region and is home to the so-called "golden triangle" between Harrogate, Knaresborough and Wetherby, there has been a 26 per cent increase in 1m-plus properties and five per cent increase in 2m-plus properties.
Experts have welcomed the growth as a sign more money is coming to the region.
But with an increasingly yawning gap between people's incomes and the money needed to buy a home, they are urging more needs to be done to allow people on average incomes to be able to get a foot on the housing ladder.
The Tory MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, Andrew Jones, said: "It is positive to see a bit of movement but the property market is not just the frothy houses costing a lot of money, it is the meat of the market that we want to see movement.
"It is hard to get on the property ladder in certain parts of North Yorkshire, there is no question about that."
He added: "We need to see more affordable housing and the banks start to open up for the mortgage market. I have heard stories of banks requiring 25 per cent deposits from people to get mortgages which is an enormous sum of money."
The cabinet member for housing, regeneration and planning at Sheffield Council, Penny Baker, said a report was put before councillors a few years ago warning of the lack of expensive properties in the area.
"We welcome this injection of money into the area – often these will be the people who run successful businesses and create jobs", she said.
"But we are concerned that people do not get left behind.
"It is incredibly difficult for young people to get on the housing ladder and this is a big problem.
"We need to be looking at the ways we can get people into the property market.
"In Sheffield we are currently looking at bringing back nearly 2,000 empty properties which have private owners but are not used."
The average house price in the Yorkshire and Humber region is now 153,736, while the average income is only 19,000.
In North Yorkshire, the scale of the problem is even more acute, average house prices standing at almost 210,000 while average earnings last year were less than 19,000.
The gross annual income required for a mortgage in North Yorkshire is almost 54,000.
Today's figures show there are now 39 per cent more properties on the market worth over 1m in the UK, 46 per cent more properties worth 5m plus and 52 per cent more properties worth 10m plus.
This compares with a 0.4 per cent fall in the average asking price for a mass market property during 2010.
COFIDENCE FALLS TO TWO-YEAR LOW
Confidence in the housing market has fallen to its lowest level for two years as people worry about Government spending cuts and problems in the mortgage market, a survey suggested today.
Only 54 per cent of homeowners think house prices will increase in the coming six months, down from 81 per cent a year ago and 63 per cent just three months earlier, according to property website Zoopla.co.uk.
On average people think property values will inch ahead by just 1.9 per cent in the period, while 33 per cent of those questioned predicted house price falls.
Zoopla questioned 5,287 homeowners between November 29 and December 4.