House prices in Mid Sussex have rocketed by as much as £40,000 in the past 12 months.
Data from housing website Zoopla shows that on average in the last year prices have risen in RH15, Burgess Hill by 10.37 per cent (£28,850), in RH16, Haywards Heath by 9.25 per cent (£29,743) and in RH17, which includes villages such as Cuckfield, Balcombe, Bolney, Hand Cross and Wivelsfield by 7.81 per cent (£39,716).
Although some homeowners will undoubtedly be pleased to see their properties rise in value the news comes with a warning.
Andrew Streeter, manager of sales progression at Mansell McTaggart, Haywards Heath, said: “The increase in equity has without a doubt created a feel good factor and a sense of security, but reality may come to bite when they come to move home.
“Price gaps are widening, people are accumulating higher amounts of debt and it’s becoming harder to make the next move.”
He said that the rise has priced first time buyers out unless they have help from their parents.
“People are shifting towards investor properties, interest rates of banks are still low,” he added.
Burgess Hill town mayor Anne Jones is also concerned about the huge increase, which mirrors the trend in the county.
She said: “It’s a big issue. A lot of people will not be able to afford it because it’s rocketing. It means you need to manage with benefits or have a large salary.
“To create a cohesive society affordable housing is vital, people can’t afford to live and work here, if you keep building expensive housing it’s very difficult.”
Her concern is that strong good local companies will not be able to get their workforce from people living in the area, and people will be forced to commute.
She said: “A lot of people don’t realise how bad it is, it’s why the food bank is flourishing.”
She continued: “We used to be a small town with the largest hospital, but staff need affordable rent, they can’t get the nurses and doctors because they can’t afford to live here, there’s a shortage of midwives.
“A police chief I knew moved here and told me he couldn’t buy a property as it’s beyond his means, compared to what he used to be able to do.”