Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayor pledges sub-£100K homes

For sale and sold signs Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Houses in Cambridgeshire sell for an average of £300,000

An authority has pledged to offer new homes for under £100,000 in one of the most expensive areas of the country.

James Palmer, mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, said he wants to make affordable housing for first-time buyers a "key project".

The average cost of a home in Cambridge is £427,900 - and £220,542 in Peterborough.

Mr Palmer said: "You can build homes for that cost - not a tiny box."

The first of the properties could be on the market by May 2021, the Local Democracy Reporting Service was told.

According to Land Registry figures for July 2019, average house prices in Cambridgeshire are £300,000, well above the UK average of £232,710.

Image caption Hobson Road in Cambridge saw six homes sold for more than £1m in 2018

Cambridge also has the fastest selling £1m-plus homes in Britain, according to a property website.

Speaking at an authority board meeting on Wednesday, Mr Palmer would not be drawn on where in the county the houses would be built.

He said: "This is housing that is actually affordable to buy: freehold housing, for first-time buyers.

"We are working with housing companies in Cambridgeshire to see if we can get some of these sites through as quickly as possible, hopefully in the next 12-18 months."

The plan is among six "key projects" led by the authority, including the regeneration of Fenland railway stations and a "bus review task force".

"It is clear that you can build homes for that cost," Mr Palmer said.

"The problem is the cost of the land in the expensive south, and the availability of land in the north of the county.

"It doesn't cost anything more to build a house in Cambridge or South Cambridgeshire than it does in Wisbech," he said.

"It's the cost of the land that makes a significant difference."

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