29th April 2015
Only 43 London properties are “affordable”, which includes houseboats costing up to £165,000, a new study reveals.
In England, more than 80% of properties on the market aren’t affordable for families looking to buy their first home, according to the housing charity Shelter.
The charity analysed asking prices for hundreds of thousands of properties for sale throughout the country, and compared them with the mortgage that an average family buying their first home could afford. The analysis shows zero family homes are affordable in over 10% of the country.
Exposing the depth of England’s housing shortage, the research revealed that across the country only 17% of homes for sale are affordable for families that need at least two bedrooms, and only 7% are affordable for larger families looking for homes with three bedrooms or more.
In 10% of local authorities, there are absolutely no homes for sale that are affordable for families earning a typical wage. These include Chelmsford and Watford in the East of England, and Gravesham and Elmbridge in the South East.
The problem is particularly severe in London. Shelter identified just 43 affordable properties in the entire capital, a number which would be even lower if it didn’t include house boats (selling for up to £165,000) and a mobile home (£125,000).
With just over a week until Election Day, the charity is warning that unless politicians act swiftly to build the homes we need, millions will be forced to cope with continued instability and sky high housing costs.
Additional research from the charity found that when asked whether or not a party is on their side, voters are likely to consider a pledge to build affordable homes among their top priorities when casting their vote.
Fiona, a lecturer in Colchester, is a married mother of three and priced out the market. She says: “I’ve always wanted a stable home for my family, but despite my husband and I both working in decent, professional jobs, house prices are way too high for us to even dream of being able to afford a home of our own.
“We need somewhere stable to raise our children, but even with a few pay rises over the years and a bit of money put aside, it seems like we’ll never get there.
“I feel completely resigned to never getting on the property ladder. A place to call home should be something you can work towards, not a luxury you can never attain. It just makes us feel utterly helpless.”
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, adds: “Over eighty per cent of homes on the market are off limits for a typical family, and this is nothing short of a scandal.
“Decades of failing to deliver the homes we need is leaving millions trapped in expensive and unstable private renting, or in their childhood bedrooms, with barely a hope of saving for a home of their own. It’s no wonder that a week out from election day, affordable housing is a key concern for those heading to the polling booths.
“For the next government, whoever that may be, it’s time for the talk to stop and the work to begin. Politicians need to act swiftly to deliver the plan that will build the 250,000 homes a year we need, or millions more people will be forced to kiss their dreams of a stable and affordable place to live goodbye.”