Skip to content

The housing crisis in Exeter

  • by JW

Prime coastal markets, most notably Devon and Cornwall recorded average price growth of 15.6% during the year, driven by high demand and shrinking supply


It was a year ago when the impacts of the pandemic on the housing market really started to be felt:

The summer didn’t bring any respite to Exeter and the West Country:

A leading estate agent believes house prices in Exeter could continue to soar until at least the end of the year – despite prices dropping across the country as the stamp duty holiday comes to an end.

Exeter house prices are still skyrocketing – despite prices dropping elsewhere |

This has been compounded by a lack of housing on the market, with figures out last week:

Property availability at lowest levels since records began |

With other reasons given:

Right to Buy escalates Exeter’s affordable housing crisis |

Councillors clash over airbnbs and Devon’s housing crisis |

Exeter: Town vs Gown? The housing challenges faced by a university city |

And still the prices go up, as announced today, with the pressure really on the West Country:

Prices in Britain’s prime housing markets outside London surged at the strongest pace in a decade during 2021, research has found… Prime coastal markets, most notably Devon and Cornwall recorded average price growth of 15.6% during the year, driven by high demand and shrinking supply, Savills added.

Prime housing markets outside London put in best price performance since 2010 |

And as the Guardian has just reported from Exeter, it is quite desperate:

Jonathan Taylor was pleased by his first peek at a sparkling new studio apartment that could one day become his home. The 24-year-old from Exeter has been living in YMCA accommodation since he was 19 but, as he viewed freshly painted white walls, the reality of a more settled home dawned. “If I lived in this place I’d feel more important,” he said. “I’d feel I’ve landed on my feet.” Taylor, who juggles cleaning jobs at a builders’ merchant and a pub, is a victim of what many fear is a deepening housing crisis in the Devon cathedral city fuelled by surging house prices, the spread of short-term Airbnb lets and rising social waiting lists. It means the chance to rent a decent, affordable home like the one Taylor is viewing is vanishingly rare. The fact Taylor may soon be given a chance to move in is down to YMCA Exeter, which is converting a former Poundstretcher warehouse into 26 homes for priced-out young people for a £140-a-week rent – well below the market rate.

The small attempt at a solution comes as Exeter and many other parts of the UK are facing a new challenge to further complicate the housing crisis: the arrival of metropolitan homebuyers seeking more space and less stress. Pandemic exiles are selling up high-value homes in places such as London and snapping up bigger properties for a fraction of the price. Latest figures show that Londoners bought more than 112,000 homes outside the capital this year, an increase of 62% compared with 2020, according to the estate agent Hamptons.

Home-seekers despair as affordable property vanishes from UK hotspots |