East of England: First-time homebuyers priced out of market following decades of lack of house building, warns National Housing Federation

The report, entitled East of England: Broken Market, said the housing crisis will only be solved i

The report, entitled East of England: Broken Market, said the housing crisis will only be solved if more affordable homes are built. - Credit: Archant

Prospective homebuyers in the region are suffering from a “housing crisis” caused by decades of not building enough homes, it has been claimed.

The National Housing Federation (NHF) said people trying to get on the housing ladder are being priced out of the market, after publishing a new report showing the average price of a house in the east of England has reached almost £244,000.

The NHF said more families and younger people are renting privately as a result, but warned that stagnant wages and rising household budgets are making even renting a “struggle”.

The report, entitled East of England: Broken Market, said the “housing crisis” will only be solved if more affordable homes are built.

It also said half a million new households are expected to form across the east of England over the next 20 years, warning that at the current building rate, a housing shortfall would top 300,000 by 2031.


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Claire Astbury, external affairs manager for the east of England at the NHF, said: “Our broken housing market is leaving thousands of people desperately struggling to keep up with spiralling housing costs.

“In some cases, it is forcing people to make tough choices between paying for their home and buying food to feed their families.

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“The housing crisis in the east of England has been more than a generation in the making, so short-term initiatives aren’t going to fix it for this generation, or the next.

“We are calling for the next government to commit to ending the housing crisis within a generation by publishing a long-term plan for housing within a year of coming into power.”

The report found that the average cost of a house in Suffolk in 2013 was £206,899, while the average salary was £23,369.

It also found that Ipswich was the most affordable local authority in the county, with an average house price of £155,298 and an average income of £22,058.

The most expensive was Suffolk Coastal, with an average house price of £255,997 and an average income of £25,875.

The report states: “Increasing demand and a lack of new homes being built are at the root of the housing crisis in the East of England.

“The lack of new homes has driven house prices out of reach for local people and the average house price is now close to £244,000 – nearly nine times the average annual income for the region – and that has made the East of England the third most expensive region in the country.

“It is not only home buyers suffering. Priced out first-time buyers are being forced into the private rented sector, increasing competition for rented properties and pushing up rents.

“Average monthly private rents in the East of England are now around £690. High rents have led to private renters spending almost a third of their income on housing costs. This also puts added pressure on the Housing Benefit bill as more low and middle income earners need support to be able to pay their housing costs.

“Almost a quarter of all households claiming Housing Benefit in the region are in work, up more than 11 percentage points since 2008.”

It went on: “It is clear that we have a housing crisis in the East of England. It has been decades in the making and short-term initiatives aren’t going to fix it for this generation, or the next.

“It has been created by the failure of successive governments to address the region’s major housing challenges, primarily failing to build enough homes.

“The English public agree: around one in four people think that their housing situation will generally improve in the next 10 years, and seven out of 10 think that the Government should play a role in improving accessibility to housing.

“To end the crisis once and for all, the main political parties must be bold in their action and, importantly, they need to look beyond the lifetime of the next parliament.

“In the run-up to the General Election, we are calling on all political parties to commit to end the housing crisis within a generation.

“We want the next government to publish a long-term plan within a year of taking office that sets out how it will achieve this.

“Working with the Government, private developers, landlords, planners and the rest of the housing sector, housing associations can make an essential contribution to ending the housing crisis in the East of England.”

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