Wales and North West England are most affordable, unpolluted air hotspots

Michael Lloyd

June 22, 2018

Wales and the North West of England  offer some of England and Wales’ most affordable locations for homebuyers seeking clean, unpolluted air, Future Climate Info (FCI)’s Clean Air Affordability Monitor has found.

Among the 50 local authorities with the highest concentration of housing transactions in ‘clean air’ postcodes, properties in Blaenau Gwent in Wales were found to be the most affordable, followed by Copelandin the North West and Merthyr Tydfil in Wales.

Overall, Wales accounted for five of the top 10 locations with the best housing affordability in clean air postcodes, followed by four in the North West and one in the North East.

Geoff Offen, managing director of Future Climate Info, said: “The quality of the air we breathe from the environment we live in is increasingly becoming a public health concern, with many homebuyers choosing to escape to the country to avoid polluted metropolitan areas.

“Property buyers have started to see it as an equally important issue as other environmental and social factors we traditionally consider first when buying a home.

“Unsurprisingly, rural areas are more likely to have cleaner air, however our analysis shows it is possible to find affordable homes in areas of natural beauty that are within commutable distance of cities such as Cardiff, Middlesbrough and Lancaster.”

The average price of a home bought in the cleanest postcodes in Blaenau Gwent was £98,690, which is 4.29 times the area’s average annual pay of £23,012. This clean air affordability ratio divides the average price of the home compared to average wage in the area.

In comparison, Copeland’s average clean air house price of £145,593 is 4.56 times average local earnings, while Merthyr Tydfil’s ratio is 5.23 due to lower wages and an average clean air house price of £123,213.

In contrast, Purbeck in South West England emerged as the least affordable clean air hotspot across England and Wales.

Purbeck’s clean air affordability ratio is 16.97 – almost four times that of Blaenau Gwent, with a house price of £364,709 in the cleanest postcodes compared to the local average salary of £21,494.

Cotswold (14.66), South Hams (14.23), North Norfolk (13.55) and West Oxfordshire (13.41) joined Purbeck to make up had the top five least affordable clean air hotspots, driven by high house prices relative to local average earnings.

Wales and the North West dominated the top 10 most affordable clean air hotspots, of the top 50 local authorities in England and Wales with the largest concentration of housing transactions in clean postcodes.

But nearly half (23) are located in South West England including West Devon, Cotswold and South Somerset. One in five (10) are located in Wales, followed by six in North West England.

Offen added: “As the issue of air quality continues to rise up homebuyers’ agenda and we become savvier about emerging environmental risks and the impact they could have on our health, we may see these areas increase in popularity as ‘clear-air hotspots’.

“In the meantime, buyers and investors concerned about the air quality surrounding a potential property purchase should ask their solicitor for a full environmental report which includes this specific insight, to help them make an informed decision.”

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