A Thame estate agent says the town is losing its young people to Aylesbury as housing prices soar by 63% more than incomes.
The news comes as statistics released by the National Housing Federation revealed average house prices have gone up in the county by 76% over a 10-year period.
Parkers Estate Agents in Cornmarket, which has been in the town since the 1970s, has seen almost all its first-time buyers vanish and has been forced to take the lettings route as a result.
Partner at the firm, Julian Mills, said: “First time buyers in Thame have just disappeared – any we do get now are either fairly wealthy or are more mature couples who have been living in rented accommodation for two or three years until they can afford to buy a property.
“All the others have gone to Aylesbury, where there are shared housing schemes and more affordable homes available.”
He added that Parkers is also having to work hard to ‘educate’ people about housing prices.
‘They must now find a middle ground’, said Mr Mills, as people are neither selling property for as much money as they had hoped.
The agent says the tough economic climate and a rise in property prices means homeowners are often being forced to rent out their houses to allow them to move. Even then, they are having to move into rented accommodation before they can afford to buy another home.
“People are generally just having to do what they have to in order to keep moving. They just need to be aware of what’s going on and be willing to adapt. A lot of people can’t even afford to move at all,” he said.
And although renting properties currently appears to be the way forward for estate agents, letting prices are also rising – so the future for the rental market remains unclear.
“The rental market is booming at the moment,” added Mr Mills.
“But in the last 12 months the price of lettings has probably gone up by around 5%, and by around 10% over the past two years. We’re finding landlords are pushing rents up. It’s supply and demand.
“It’ll be interesting to see what happens over the next couple of years.”