The town of Melbourne in Derbyshire has been accused of artificially buoying its house prices. The attractive Georgian market town lies close to the National Forest. It was recorded in the Domesday Survey and boasts a parish church once described as a miniature cathedral, as well as a 20-acre lake overlooked by the historic family house and gardens of Melbourne Hall.
Average house prices are just over £300,000, ranging from modest homes valued at around £100,000 up to eight-bedroom properties selling for over £1 million. Melbourne was voted 12th in the Halifax’s Quality of Life survey and the 15th Best Town in the UK in 2013.
In short, Melbourne is a lovely place to live.
However, the police have said there is a drug problem in Melbourne, and consequently the town is less proud of the antics of some of its residents. At a recent community forum, police and councillors accused homeowners of failing to report drug-related crimes, seemingly because they believed it might lower their house prices.
Police told residents that reporting crimes should not be a concern but, in response, one local likened their comments to the story-line of the film Hot Fuzz. For the uninitiated, the plot follows the antics of two police officers assigned to a rural town in Gloucestershire, who discover that the Neighbourhood Watch is knocking off local criminals who threaten their chances of winning the Village of the Year competition.
Much of the filming of Hot Fuzz actually took place in the beautiful cathedral city of Wells in Somerset.
Is there any evidence that buoying house prices is possible in this way? The Home Office claims that there is no proven link between published crime figures and house prices, but the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors believes there is a connection. Demand does affect house prices and if a high level of crime is recorded in an area this will ultimately affect demand for private housing, which will inevitably lead to lower property prices.
If you’re thinking of buying a property in Derbyshire, Somerset or anywhere else in England or Wales, ask a Property Surveying Independent Chartered Surveyor to overlook the condition and structural elements of your new property with a building survey.