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All-time high rents and rising house prices keeping Plymouth people off the property ladder, says MP




WOULD-BE homebuyers are being kept off the property ladder thanks to a cocktail of rising house prices and all-time high rents, says a Plymouth MP.

Labour MP for Plymouth Moor View Alison Seabeck said building more homes was the only solution.

She was speaking as a new letting report revealed UK rental had hit an all-time average high, with a significant increase in private sector prices in the South West.

The The survey, carried out by LSL Property Services, has prompted new concerns about affordability.

It found that the cost of privately renting a property in Britain has risen by 2.4 per cent over the last year, bringing the average monthly rent to £761.

Tenants in the Westcountry have seen the biggest year-on-year increase – higher even than the South East –with rates in the region increasing by 3.5 percent to an average of £651 a month.

The South West also saw the biggest month-on-month increase between July and August (1.7 percent) as the peak season for new tenancies got under way.

The consequences of these price rises were revealed by the same study, which found that around 8 percent of rents were paid late or were not paid at all in August.

LSL said this was the highest level of financial difficulty reported by tenants since last Christmas.

Ms Seabeck said such high property prices were preventing young people from getting a foot on the housing ladder and putting pressure on the private rental section.

“The rise in people who cannot afford to buy a home, and also people who are unable to go into affordable rental properties because of low availability, mean the sector is being squeezed from both ends, driving prices up,” she said.

She stressed that the construction of more affordable housing was the most viable solution to the problem, saying that regulation of the market would only make the situation worse.

“If you try and regulate private rents by introducing caps, people just pull out of the market, which reduces the availability of properties,” she said.

“The rise in rents, wherever it is occurring the country, all feeds back in to the fact that we’re not building enough homes. The government needs to listen to charities like Shelter and other parties who have been telling them this.”

The survey has also led homelessness charity Shelter to call on the government to provide more affordable housing.

“Successive governments’ failure to build enough affordable homes and soaring house prices are leaving more and more families with no choice but to live their lives in expensive and unstable rented home,” said Shelter chief executive, Campbell Robb.

“Sky-high rents mean hopes of escaping the ‘rent trap’ are fading fast for many.

“We hear from people every day who can barely keep up with their housing costs each month, making saving for a home of their own a mere pipe dream.

“Our politicians have got to get serious about building the affordable homes we urgently need and give ‘generation rent’ the chance of a stable home.”

The findings come after the Office for National Statistics released figures showing that first-time buyers face having to pay 13.5 per cent more for a starter home than they did a year ago, with the typical cost standing at £209,000.


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