A housing campaigner has said the "real problem" for young people wanting to buy a home in north Norfolk is not their subscriptions to Netflix, gyms and coffee.

Lynne Burdon, chairperson of Homes for Wells, was responding to comments by Kirstie Allsopp in The Sunday Times on Sunday (February 6) that young people could afford to buy a house if they cancelled such services.

The presenter of TV show 'Location, Location, Location' suggested that young people should move in with their parents or find homes in cheaper areas if they are struggling to afford their lifestyles while saving for a house.

Fakenham & Wells Times: TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp is backing the Home-Start Christmas appealTV presenter Kirstie Allsopp is backing the Home-Start Christmas appeal (Image: Archant)

But Ms Burdon, who campaigns for affordable housing in and around Wells, said: "It is going to take more than savings on Netflix and take away coffee to enable them to buy a home here.

"I don't think that's the real problem. There are a lot of people who are desperate to buy a house and they save every penny but will never be able to make that gap because it is so big."

The current draft of the North Norfolk Local Plan in 2020 stated that the median house price across the district was £250,000 - which is almost ten times the average income.

In Wells the figure is much higher – on Monday (February 7) Rightmove said the average house price was £465,260. Currently the average first-time buyer in the East of England has to save for seven years for a deposit on a home.

Ms Burdon said: "Many of the jobs in Wells pay only the living wage of £8.91 an hour – so even for a family where both adults work full time income is going to be around £37,000 per annum.

"Even worse because of the high demand for properties for second homes and holiday lets there are no properties at all available for long term rent," she said.

"If local people can’t afford to live here, then Wells will begin to lose essential amenities. There will be no one to work in the schools, doctors surgery, supermarket or to man the lifeboat."

Ms Burdon said there needs to be more interventions including the equivalent of more taxes on second homes.Homes for Wells provides affordable properties to rent for local working people.

How long does it take to save for a house?

According to 2021 data from YesHomeBuyers it takes people in the East of England almost a decade to save for their first home.

The East of England is one of the regions which has seen one of the largest increases in the length of time it will take them to save up.

Buyers in this region now required to save for 7.7 years.

That is an increase of 1.6 years since 2012.

Experts added it may take even longer with 15pc deposits now more standard than 10pc - which was preferred before the pandemic.

And although data is not yet available for 2022, but this is likely to have stayed at this level or even increased due to the house buying boom in Norfolk which was seen during the pandemic.