64% harder for first time buyers in east

NEW research published today reveals it has become 64% harder for first time buyers to get onto the housing ladder compared with 12 years ago.The annual ROOF Affordability Index, which assesses affordability by comparing mortgage costs against household incomes, shows it is becoming far tougher for young people to buy a property in East Anglia.

By Richard Smith

NEW research published today reveals it has become 64% harder for first time buyers to get onto the housing ladder compared with 12 years ago.

The annual ROOF Affordability Index, which assesses affordability by comparing mortgage costs against household incomes, shows it is becoming far tougher for young people to buy a property in East Anglia.

Mortgage costs have now climbed to 22% of the average income in the region, compared with 16% in 2000.


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The housing charity Shelter is now campaigning for at least 8,500 new social rented homes to be built each year in the east of England until 2015, with a minimum of 7,200 properties built annually from 2015 to 2021.

However, Wil Gibson, chief executive of Suffolk ACRE, said yesterday: “The fundamental problem is that the planning system is wrong because it protects rural areas. There is a presumption against any other development and therefore this creates a constrained market and prices go up.

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“We need small incremental growth taking into account the needs of the community over a period of time.

“We are not talking about a massive development in a small village, because that would be out of proportion to what is already there, but looking at how many young people there are, how many people would like to return and also meeting the needs of people who would like to downsize.

“A lot of the growth that the government has identified would be in large urban areas and in a sense that is not meeting the needs of everybody. It is important that people have connections to family and friends and we are breaking those if we concentrate everyone in large urban areas.”

Evidence from the Council of Mortgage Lenders shows that almost half of young first time buyers require help from their parents, while professional Buy to Let investors are increasing their share of the market.

Adam Sampson, director of Shelter, said: “Gradually, the housing ladder is being pulled up beyond most young people's reach in the east.

“For first time buyers, a housing 'rock face' has emerged instead – virtually impossible to get on without years of saving or financial help from family or friends, and more precarious than ever once you are on it.

“The real tragedy is that the chronic lack of social rented housing means the safety net for those in the greatest need, who can't afford to buy or even rent at today's prices, is completely inadequate.”

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

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