THIS is Britain’s most affordable town where homes cost just £60,000 – a TENTH of the price of the average London house.
Shildon in County Durham has been named the most budget-friendly place to buy a house in the UK, with prices starting at £30,000.
This quaint north-east town has a population of 10,000 with more than a fifth over the age of 65.
It is just 13 miles outside of the city of Durham and only a short drive from the North Pennines Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty.
The town is known for its “cheerful” locals who are proud of their welcoming community.
Maurice Card, owner of the Shildon Sweet Treats, told ChronicleLive: “I’m originally from Shildon so I know a lot of the people.
“I enjoy having conversations with the locals.
“Everyone here is different, with different lives and interests. Some people are lonely and they come for a chat. It’s a real sense of community.”
The average house price in Shildon is just twice the average annual income of £27,500.
So for what you would pay for a house in London, where they average £605,000, you could buy TEN houses in Shildon.
On Zoopla, the cheapest property on the market in Shildon is a two-bedroom terraced house just off the main shopping street.
It has two spacious reception rooms, a stone fireplace and feature archway, and is well-located for primary schools and shops.
Plus the nearest pub less than two minutes away where a pint of local bitter costs just £2.70.
Property prices are so low in the town that there is even an auction taking place on July 29 where a two-bedroom mid-terrace house has a crazy guide price of just £1,000.
Shildon’s main shopping street is full of small independent businesses with friendly local owners.
Pauline Nesbitt, co-owner of Shildon Food For Less, said: “The people that come into my shop are lovely.
“A lot of older people come around and they said they love my shop.
“I know from all the lovely things that they say to me, the prices are quite cheap too.
“The people of Shildon are lovely, I do like the people.”
However, the town does have a high crime rate. There were 182 street level crimes in Shildon in May 2020, with antisocial behaviour the most common.
This compares to just 45 in Woodingdean near Brighton, East Sussex, which has a similar population size.
And life expectancy in County Durham is 77.9 years for men and 81.5 years for women – several years below the national average of 79.9 and 83.6.
There are three primary schools in the town, with the closest secondary school only a short distance away between Shildon and neighbouring Newton Aycliffe.
But Greenfield Community College was rated as “requires improvement” in all areas in its most recent Ofsted inspection.
Its exam results are lower than the national average – and of the pupils who finished school in 2017, only 87 per cent stayed in education or went into employment or training, compared to 94 per cent nationally.
A woman’s haircut in the town, at one of the 13 hairdressers and barbers on the high street, costs as little as £25.
The same in London could set you back three or four times that.
Stephanie Martin, manager of Enhance Hairdressers, who has worked in Shildon for 25 years, said: “Everyone in Shildon knows each other and is pretty friendly.”
And Kirsty Foster, owner of the Red Lion pub, said: “I’m a local here, born and bred. I know everyone here, it’s home.
“You get to know everyone that comes in and then you find out where they’re from.
“We all just get along, have a chat and a friendly drink.”
Claire Dent, who runs Denty’s Clothes Shop in Shildon, said: “When I have my shop door open, people walk past or pop into the shop and it’s always a cheerful hello.”
After Shildon, the second most affordable place to buy a house is Peterlee, also in County Durham.
The average house price there is £65,000 which can get you a three-bedroom end terrace house.
Other parts of County Durham – Ferryhill and Stanley – also make it in the top ten, as well as parts of North, South and East Ayrshire and Rhondda Valley, Mid Glamorgan.
The top 10 most expensive towns to buy a house in are all clustered in southern England.
Surrey and Buckinghamshire dominate the list, as well as London, Windsor and Maidenhead and Hertfordshire.
Zoopla compared more than 1,000 towns in England, Scotland and Wales to determine the cheapest and most expensive places to live.