According to the National Housing Federation Home Truths report, the South West faces a combination of high house prices and low wages resulting in an acute housing crisis.
Only those earning upwards of £58,527 a year can now afford the average mortgage in the South West. With salaries now averaging £24,934, the typical worker would need a staggering £33,593 pay rise (135%) to get a mortgage for an average home in the region.
The report, which provides local data on the housing market in the South West, shows that the average house price is £256,054, compared to the national average of £282,011. This represents more than ten times the average salary. In some areas it is much higher – house prices in the Cotswolds are almost 50% higher than the regional average.
The cost of renting privately has added pressure on people’s income. With average monthly rents now standing at £731, private renters have to fork out 35% of their pay on rent.
The report reveals one of the sources of all this misery: nearly 25,000 too few new homes have been built over the last five years in the region. Last year alone, fewer than 19,000 homes were built, which is far below what is required to accommodate the 21,000 new households that are formed each year.
As a sector, housing associations are working to end the region’s crisis, completing over 3,000 new homes, and having started to build over 3,000 more in 2015/16. They built more than 40,000 homes across the country in 2015/16, 29% of all new homes in England. Housing associations have ambitions to work with Government to build thousands more new homes across the country.
Elim’s purpose is to address housing need and deliver places for people to call home. We have set out to achieve this vision by providing homes for families and single people at different stages of their lives, and it is our aim for Elim to own, lease or manage 1000 homes by 2022.
Jenny Allen, External Affairs Manager for the National Housing Federation in the South West, said:
“As one of Britain’s most expensive regions, the South West has experienced first-hand the brunt of the housing crisis. The spike in house prices has had a devastating impact on rural communities, especially with young families being priced out. This is having a knock-on effect on local amenities, including shops and schools, and is detrimental to everyone.
“As this year’s Home Truths report shows, the number of homes built is far below what the region needs to keep up with demand. Housing associations are a vital part of the solution to the housing crisis. The sector is buoyed by the additional funding and flexibility secured in the Autumn Statement and is ambitious about delivering even more houses.”