New research by Shelter reveals the extent of the South West’s housing shortage, where just 6% of the suitable homes for sale are affordable for a typical family hoping to get on the first rung of the property ladder.
The charity looked at asking prices for all of the properties for sale in the South West on a single day, and compared them with the mortgage that families, couples and single people on average wages could afford as first time buyers.
The results reveal a shocking picture. In over a third of all local authority areas in the South West fewer than 3% of the homes on the market were affordable for families – even assuming that they were able to save a large 20% deposit.
The picture is even bleaker for those looking to take part in the government’s mortgage guarantee scheme, Help to Buy, where a 95% mortgage would mean higher monthly mortgage costs, and put even more homes out of reach.
Several affordability black-spots were also uncovered, where the chances of finding a suitable property were near zero. They include Exeter where there were just 6 affordable properties, East Dorset (16 affordable) and Christchurch (11 affordable homes for sale).
Previous research commissioned by Shelter showed that on average young families in the region face over a decade of saving before they can afford the deposit for a home of their own. This new study shows that, even when they have saved a large deposit, there simply aren’t enough properties on the market that first time buyers can afford.
This means that the reality for many will be years spent in expensive and unstable private lets, often forced to move from one short tenancy to the next and unable to put down roots.
The situation is even worse for single people looking for a home of their own in the South West, with just 3 affordable homes in every 100 on the market. For couples without children, 1 in 5 two or more bedroomed properties were affordable overall, but in a fifth of areas the figure was 1 in 10 or less.
It is little surprise therefore that recent Census data showed a 7% drop in the proportion of home owners in the South West, a figure likely to increase as more people are priced out of the property market and forced into unstable private renting.
Shelter is warning that unless the government tackles the root cause of our housing crisis – the desperate shortage of affordable homes – things are only going to get worse. This will not only affect future generations hoping for a stable home, but also the thousands of families already facing an everyday struggle to pay their rent or mortgage.
(from a press release)