In the York area, a plot of land big enough to put a house on costs less than £1,000 but when it becomes building land it can cost £100,000 or more. That’s a windfall to landowners, called the ‘planning premium’. This is built into the price of a new house.
I’m still mobile enough to ride a bike. I’m lucky enough to have strong bones so falling off hasn’t yet caused me serious injury and when I do fall off it’s never on one of York’s pleasant cycleways. It happens when I negotiate traffic and complicated bits of road or street furniture. So let’s put my log cabin next to a cycleway near one of the out-of-town shopping centres or park and ride stops for when cycling days get too hard for an old man.
OK, that’s me sorted for less than £15,000 but what about the younger generation like the young man I met a year or so ago walking with his small son next to the pond at Joseph Rowntree’s Derwenthorpe development, where houses are in the £350,000 range. He had a good job as a gas fitter but couldn’t afford house prices in York. His young family could only afford housing near Selby. They really wanted to be nearer to relatives round the corner from Derwenthorpe, where he had grown up.
I suspect that young man and family would not be content with my style of living but, a search of house prices on the Zoopla website finds that new 3 bed semis in York start at about £300,000. In Selby new 3 bed houses are less than £200,000. In Liverpool one can be bought for £100,000 – but in Enfield on the outskirts of London the cheapest 3 bed semi today is £435,000. The variation in these prices is largely due to the planning premium – building costs don’t vary much across the country – except in very Central London.