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Housing shortage pushing house prices out of reach of local workers, says report



The housing shortage in the South West is pushing private rents and house prices out of reach for local workers, according to a new report.

The housing shortage in the South West is pushing private rents and house prices out of reach for local workers, according to a new report.

While the average wage rose by just 22% between 2002 and 2012, house prices have increased by more than twice as much (56%), according to the National Housing Federation.

The report, Home Truths: South West 2013/14, blames the housing crisis on a shortage of affordable homes - with only 13,460 properties built in the South West in 2012/13.

The average house price for the region sits at £225,001, more than 11 times the average salary of just £19,573.

Private rents increased in the West by 35% over the same period, and are expected to a rise by a further 40% in the South West by 2020.

Jenny Allen, South West external affairs manager for the National Housing Federation, said: “High house prices, rising rents and low and stagnant wages across the South West region are not only making life extremely difficult for people living and working here, but they are also affecting employers and businesses and risk holding back economic growth.

“We need Local Enterprise  Partnerships to work with local councils, housing associations and others to take a strategic lead on getting more homes built at the right price in the right places, which will help revitalise communities and create jobs.”

The report also showed that a gross annual income of £52,147 is needed for an 80% mortgage in the West, with every new home built bringing in £77,314 to the South West economy.

In Cornwall, the average house price in 2012 was £223,169, more than 12 times the average median income of £17,664.

In South Hams, the disparity was even greater with the average house costing nearly 17 times the average annual local wage of £17,368.

The average cost of a private rental property for the region was £152 a week, below the £163 average for England.

A rental property in Cornwall was said to cost around £140 a week, £2 more than the £138 for a property in the Isles of Scilly but less than the £149 in Devon.

The cheapest place to rent privately was Plymouth at £126 a week.

There has also been a 108% increase in working people claiming housing benefit since 2009 in the South West, and the third largest rise in housing benefit claims overall.

Ms Allen said that local people also have an important role to play.

“Those who want more housing in the South West need to contact local councillors and say ‘Yes to Homes’,” she continued.

“With more support, housing associations across the South West can be real catalysts for change for local communities. They are in it for the long term and can actively drive forward a balanced economic recovery.”


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