No homes in Westminster affordable for local families

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A new study published by Shelter shows that in Westminster there are no homes on the market that are affordable to young families with children. The research reveals the full extent of England’s housing shortage. In over half the country, less than 10 per cent of the suitable homes for sale are affordable for a typical family hoping to get on the first rung of the property ladder. The charity looked at asking prices for all of the properties for sale in England on a single day, and compared them with the mortgage that families, couples and single people on average wages could afford as first time buyers.  

In over a third of local authority areas, more than 95% of homes on the market were unaffordable for families – even assuming that they were able to save a large 20% deposit. The research uncovered several affordability black-spots, where there were no affordable properties for sale at all. This includes Brent where 1,511 homes for sale but none were affordable. The picture is even bleaker for families looking to take part in the government’s mortgage guarantee scheme, Help to Buy, where a 95% mortgage would mean higher monthly mortgage costs, and put even more homes out of reach. 

Previous research commissioned by Shelter showed that on average young families face over a decade of saving before they can afford the deposit for a home of their own. This new study shows that, even with a large deposit, there simply aren’t enough properties on the market that first time buyers can afford. This means that the reality for many will be years spent in expensive and unstable private lets, often forced to jump from one short tenancy to the next and unable to put down roots.  

Shelter is warning that unless the government tackles the root cause of our housing crisis – the desperate shortage of affordable homes – things are only going to get worse. This will not only affect future generations hoping for a stable home, but also the thousands of families already facing an everyday struggle to pay their rent or mortgage. 

London wide Assembly Member Murad Qureshi AM said:

“Westminster ranks 1st with 6 other London Boroughs as the least affordable areas in the UK. Of the 20 least affordable areas in the country, 13 are in London. We need real action to get developers building, there are 211,000 homes in London that have planning permission but are not being built. It is time the Mayor and government introduced a “use it or lose it” clause for developers who are sitting on these stalled schemes so we can deliver the housing Londoners so desperately need.” 

“London is facing a housing crisis for all types of tenure, there simply isn’t enough housing being built. This is putting intolerable strain on house prices and on rents. In one month alone house prices rose by £50,000 and private sector rents are seeing double-digit increases year on year. London is becoming more and more unaffordable, this is not healthy for London’s future. The dream of home ownership is becoming an ever more distant dream for young Londoners.” 

Ends 

Notes 

  1. Murad Qureshi AM is a London wide Assembly Member
  2. Shelter’s press release can be found here: http://england.shelter.org.uk/news/october_2013/working_families_priced_out_in_over_half_of_the_country
  3. In 31 out of 32 London boroughs, less than 10% of available properties are affordable to a couple with children on average wages. 
  4. Analysis of the housing market was carried out by comparing asking prices for properties on sale with affordability thresholds for three different household types derived from average earnings figures. For more details and a full breakdown of data refer to the full research report ‘How much of the housing market is affordable?’ attached. 
  5. Asking prices acquired from Zoopla, but this research is in no way endorsed or supported by Zoopla. 
  6. Additional research into the time it takes to save for a deposit taken from Shelter’s A Home of Their Own report. 
  7. Percentage change in home ownership taken from Shelter analysis of data from Census 2001 and Census 2011 (ONS)