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Homes most unaffordable in region
10:10am Monday 19th March 2012 in News
HOUSES in Malvern are the most unaffordable in the region, costing around 13 times the average annual wage.
Housing experts have called for more affordable housing to be built in rural parts of Worcestershire and Herefordshire to mark the first ever Rural Housing Week this week.
Housing associations have joined forces with the National Housing Federation, Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and other groups to demand action.
Figures from 2010 (the latest to be published) show that in Malvern Hills the average home costs £250,493 or 13.8 times the average income of £18,122, the biggest gap between income and house prices in the county.
This is also well above the average for other rural parts of the West Midlands as a whole where the average is around 11 times average income and much higher than in the region’s urban areas where incomes where house prices were around 8.3 times people’s income.
Herefordshire was the third most unaffordable area to live in within the region. House prices on average were £223,664 or 12.7 times the average income of £17,628. Just below Herefordshire was Wychavon where the average house price was £249,645 – 12.2 times the average income of £20,457.
But Worcester was the cheapest place to live in Worcestershire in terms of the ratio between house prices and earnings.
The average house prices in the city cost £179,286, 8.3 times the average income of £21,320.
However, Worcester has seen the eighth biggest rises in average house prices in the country from £34,266 in 1986 to £182,644 in 2011 (a 433 per cent increase) according to a separate report by Halifax published on Monday.
In Worcestershire, the average home costs £211,926 (10.7 times the average wage of £19,869), with a gross annual income of £45,413 needed to secure a mortgage.
Across Herefordshire and Worcestershire there has been a significant increase in the number of households on waiting lists between 2009 and 2010, with 24,829 households on waiting lists in 2010 compared with 20,341 households the previous year.
Gemma Duggan, West Midlands lead manager for the National Housing Federation said: “House prices in the region remain out of reach for thousands of households in the region and Herefordshire and Worcestershire is clearly no exception.
“As unemployment is on the up in the region and benefits are set to be slashed, private sector rents also look set to rise.”
Guy Weston, chief executive of Festival Housing Group said: “It’s pretty clear judging by today’s report that the housing market in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, as well as the wider West Midlands, is indeed broken.”
Three major mortgage lenders launched new products as part of the Government-backed scheme designed to boost demand for newly built homes.
The NewBuy scheme is forecast to help as many as 100,000 people locked out of the property market by heralding the return of five per cent deposits rather than the 20 per cent typically demanded by lenders since the credit crunch.
The Government will stump up 5.5 per cent of the value of a mortgage on a home worth up to £500,000 in England, while the housebuilder will put up 3.5 per cent to help guarantee mortgage lenders against any losses and stimulate a wave of fresh lending.
Barclays, Nationwide Building Society and NatWest Home Loans said they are ready to start lending under the scheme, while Santander aims to make products available by the middle of the year and Halifax is expected to follow suit.
The support of lenders is vital if the scheme is to succeed and there had been fears they would fail to put their weight behind it.