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Home Truths report reveals scale of local housing crisis

Some of the new homes being built in Coalpit Heath

Families in South Gloucestershire need to earn more than £57,000 a year before they can afford the average mortgage a new report from the National Housing Federation has revealed.

With average salaries only £26,827, a couple both earning this wage would still need an 8% pay increase each to afford a mortgage for the average home; a single person would need to see their pay rise by a staggering £31,000 a year or 115%.

The South West Home Truths report shows that South Gloucestershire faces a combination of high house prices and low wages which is causing a growing housing crisis in the region. With average monthly rents rising to £782, private renters have to fork out 43% of their disposable income just to pay the rent.

But across South Gloucestershire housing associations are working to end the local housing crisis. Over the past year Merlin, Knightstone, Curo, Solon South West and others have built more than 300 new, affordable homes in Yate, Emersons Green, Filton and Thornbury. And this figure is set to increase further in the next 12 months, with Merlin alone due to start work on a further 250 homes on sites in Thornbury, Staple Hill and Downend.

Amanda Swann, Head of Development at Merlin, said: “House prices are rising much faster than wages in South Gloucestershire and that is making it very difficult for people to access good quality housing that is affordable. Merlin and other housing associations are determined to do our bit, by increasing the number of new homes being built in South Gloucestershire.

The situation in neighbouring Bristol and Bath and North East Somerset, where Merlin are also developing new homes is no better. In Bristol average house prices are 9.9 times average incomes, while in Bath and North East Somerset they are 11.9 times higher.

Jenny Allen, External Affairs Manager for the National Housing Federation in the South West, said: “As one of Britain’s most expensive regions, the South West has experienced first-hand the brunt of the housing crisis. The spike in house prices has had a devastating impact on rural communities, especially with young families being priced out. This is having a knock-on effect on local amenities, including shops and schools, and is detrimental to everyone.

“In the West of England the planned Joint Spatial Strategy could represent a real opportunity to effectively link housing and transport. We urge local politicians, and the future Metro Mayor for the West of England, to address this issue to help us deliver the homes we need.”

Housing associations across England built more than 40,000 new homes in 2015-16, 29% of all the new homes built in the country. And by working with the Government we have ambitions to build thousands more new homes in the coming years.

Read the full South West Home Truths Report 2016-17

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