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Affordability dearth leads to ‘housing crisis

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: June 30, 2014

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SHOCKING figures have revealed that fewer than 20 per cent of homes for sale in East Staffordshire can be considered affordable for families.

Just 183 homes – 18.8 per cent of properties in the borough – fall into this category, according to housing charity Shelter, causing major issues for first-time buyers

Over the border in South Derbyshire the picture is only slightly rosier, with 200 homes – just under a quarter of those available – affordable for couples with children.

In a report into what is referred to as a ‘housing crisis’, a spokesman for Shelter said: “The results are certainly shocking and reveal the scale of the problem faced by first-time buyers across the country.

“As prices continue to rise, buyers are coming increasingly under pressure to over-extend themselves or abandon their hopes of affording a home.”

In turn, he added, this increased pressure on the rental market, driving rents up at a time when wages are not rising.

East Staffordshire Citizens Advice Bureau has been seeing an increasing number of people dealing with rent arrears because of this situation, a spokesman told the Mail.

Housing – whether rented or owned – is considered to be unaffordable if the cost exceeds 30 per cent of the average income. Local authorities have a duty to ensure there is enough affordable housing for people living in the area.

A spokesman for East Staffordshire Borough Council said the authority had made provision for all types of housing over the coming years.

He said: “The council requires developers to include on-site affordable housing and to make a contribution towards other measures to provide housing which is affordable to such households.”

In South Derbyshire, where fewer that five per cent of homes are affordable for single first-time buyers, the district council said it was ‘committed to positively influencing the supply of affordable housing’

Bob Ledger, director of housing and environmental services, said: “As part of our vision to create sustainable, balanced communities, we provide developers with guidance on the council’s aims for affordable housing during the construction of new schemes and have an in-depth guide for them to follow.

“We’ll continue working with partners to deliver affordable housing to benefit everyone for years to come.”

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