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Say 'yes' to more affordable homes in Gloucestershire

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Say 'yes' to more affordable homes in Gloucestershire

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Published by Liz Reeson for Two Rivers Housing in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities, Local Government

Demand for affordable homes seriously outstrips supply in all areas of Gloucestershire, and more than 17,000 people are currently waiting on the housing list.

With house prices predicted to spiral even higher over the next five years, people are going to find themselves increasingly priced out of the opportunity to buy, and more dependent upon renting.

Add below-average salaries, high rural unemployment, a shortage of available properties and increasing food and energy prices, and together they paint a bleak picture for many people who wish to make their home in the county.

Mark Harper, MP for the Forest of Dean, joins representatives of local housing associations, councils, builders, estate agents and members of the Local Enterprise Partnership to debate the issues and explore solutions this week.

Two Rivers Housing Association is hosting the event at its Newent office on Friday 2 May and will be joined by Jenny Allen of the National Housing Federation, who will reveal the results of its annual Home Truths report into housing demand, supply and affordability.

The average house price in Gloucestershire is just over £231,000 – 11 times the average wage.

  • A gross annual income of £52,856 is needed for an 80% mortgage in the county.
  • The average wage in Gloucestershire rose by just 25% between 2002 and 2012, compared with a 55% hike in house prices in the same period.
  • The county currently has 35,000 affordable homes to rent through housing association or local authority, but there are 17,500 households queuing up to rent those that are available.
  • Demand is set to increase over the next eight years as figures estimate the number of households will go up by 7%.
  • Every new home built in Gloucestershire brings £77,000 into the South West and creates 1.8 jobs directly and in the wider economy.

“The message is very clear,” said Garry King, Chief Executive of Two Rivers Housing, a not-for-profit association with more than 3,800 homes across Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. “We simply don’t have enough homes to keep up with demand now, or in the future.

“Building more houses is part of the answer and we’re all working on various schemes, but that takes time and it needs money, land and support from landowners, planners and the communities. Meanwhile, we need to see what more we can do to help the people who need our support.

“I hope that bringing the organisations together that have a stake in this will help us to find new ways to tackle the issues, for the benefit of many thousands of people across the whole county.”

Jenny Allen, South West External Affairs Manager for the National Housing Federation said: “These pressures are not only making life extremely difficult for people living and working here, but they are also affecting employers and businesses and risk holding back economic growth.

“We need Local Enterprise Partnerships to work with local councils, housing associations and others to take a strategic lead on getting more homes built at the right price in the right places, which will help revitalise communities and create jobs.

“Local people also have an important role to play. Those who want more housing in Gloucestershire and the South West need to contact local councillors and say ‘Yes to Homes’.

“With more support, housing associations can be real catalysts for change for local communities. They are in it for the long term and can actively drive forward a balanced economic recovery.”

More information on the National Housing Federation’s ‘Yes to Homes’ campaign is available at www.yestohomes.co.uk .

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