3 Feb 2017

An affordable home is still out of reach for many

Research issued by the National Housing Federation (NHF) this week, shows the average price of a home in Wiltshire is now £276,295 – almost 11 times the average salary.

Those who choose to rent instead are faced with paying £774 a month to rent privately – nearly a third of their income – or joining the long waiting list for a housing association or local authority home to become available.

Research in the NHF’s Home Truths 2016/17 report reveals in Wiltshire:

• the average wage in is £25,776;
• the average house price in the county is £276,295;
• anyone looking to buy their home will need a gross annual income of £63,153 to be able to secure an 80% mortgage;
• there are fewer than 27,000 ‘affordable’ homes available to rent through a housing association or local authority; and
• just over a quarter (27%) of people claiming housing benefit are in work, but relying on state funding to help them make ends meet.

Today (3 February) Howard Toplis, GreenSquare's Chief Executive joined Jenny Allen, NHF External Affairs Manager, and Councillor Tony Trotman, Wiltshire Councillor for Calne (Chilvester and Abberd), at GreenSquare's development site in Abberd Way, Calne, where work is underway to bring 12 new properties for affordable rent to the area. They raised a toy house up into the air to demonstrate that affordable homes are still out of reach for many in Wiltshire.

Local housing providers, like GreenSquare, are all working on programmes to build a range of homes to suit different needs, focusing on increasing the number of affordable properties in the county’s towns and rural areas.

Howard Toplis said: “There is no doubt that in Wiltshire, like the rest of the country, we are in the midst of a housing crisis, with an affordable home still out of reach for many. With wages below national average, high levels of rural unemployment, a shortage of affordable properties, and increasing food and energy prices, many people are still struggling to buy their own home.

“However, housing associations, like us, are working to end the region’s housing crisis – we want to work with Wiltshire Council, and the Government, to build thousands more new homes across Wiltshire, and across the country, to provide enough affordable homes to meet the growing demand. We believe that everyone has the right to a home that they can afford to live in, and we are proud to be doing all we can build good quality homes to help address the country’s growing housing shortage.”

As well as building new homes in Abberd Way, Calne, GreenSquare is currently working on various development sites across Wiltshire. In Chippenham, construction is reaching an advanced stage on 11 new homes at Parklands, including four refurbished bungalows. Meanwhile in Corsham work is nearing completion on 11 homes for rent at Rudloe, while work is beginning on a former garage sites at Dickens Avenue and Queens Avenue to build a total of 12 new homes.

Jenny Allen, External Affairs Manager for the National Housing Federation in the South West, said: “As this year’s Home Truths report shows, the number of homes built is far below what the region needs to keep up with demand. Housing associations are a vital part of the solution to the housing crisis. The sector is buoyed by the additional funding and flexibility secured in the Autumn Statement and is ambitious about delivering even more houses.”

To read the Home Truths 2016/17: The housing market in the South West, click here.

Pictured (left to right): Tony Knight, GreenSquare’s Construction Manager; Jenny Allen, National Housing Federation External Affairs Manager (South West); Councillor Tony Trotman, Wiltshire Councillor for Calne (Chilvester and Abberd); Howard Toplis, GreenSquare’s Chief Executive; and Ian Potts, GreenSquare’s Site Manager.