8 in 10 homes for sale in England unaffordable for families

Photo: NeilSingapore

There have been many cries of “housing bubble” in the last year, as UK property values have accelerated upwards. The housing charity’s research, though, highlights the numerical debate in a stark, real context: in over half of the country, fewer than one in ten suitable homes on the market were affordable for a typical family, even assuming they were able to save the
average deposit for a first time buyer.

For those hoping to buy with smaller deposits the situation is even worse with 88 per cent of homes for sale in England unaffordable for families with a 95 per cent loan.

The 83 local authority areas where there were fewer than 10 affordable homes for sale included Cambridge and Brighton and Hove. In 14 areas, including Ealing, Lewisham and Slough, there were no affordable homes for sale at all.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “When a family looking to buy their first home searches a whole town for a place to live and finds nothing they can afford, it’s clear we’re not just facing a housing shortage any more: it’s a full-blown drought.”

While most of the concern has been centred upon London’s booming market, which is far ahead of the rest of theUK, Shelter says this “chronic shortage” of affordable homes “isn’t confined to London and the South East”.

Indeed, in Exeter, only 1 per cent of homes on the market were affordable for the typical family (8 out of 553 for sale) while in South Lakeland in the North West, only 4 per cent were affordable (43 out of 1,069 for sale).

Recent government figures show that average house prices in the UK have risen by 9.9 per cent in a year to £260,000 – higher than their pre-crisis peak in 2008. With soaring housing prices and the lack of affordable homes beginning to take effect, official figures show that homeownership in England has fallen to its lowest level since 1987.

“Our failure to build more homes is leaving a whole generation of young people with no choice but to remain trapped in expensive and unstable private renting, or stuck in their childhood bedrooms for years to come, no matter how hard they work or save,” said Campbell Robb.

“What we need right now is for politicians to roll up their sleeves and make stable homes for the next generation a top priority.”