THOUSANDS of people across the South West could be left fighting for a home they can afford as the region faces a massive shortage of new housing.
Home Truths: South West 2012, a new report by the National Housing Federation, found that while over 27,000 new households formed in the region in 2011/12, just 16,100 new homes were built. This means we are building less than 60% of the homes we need in the South West.
The shortfall of homes in the South West is pushing up house prices and private rents, making it increasingly difficult for people to afford to rent their own home, let alone buy one.
Social housing waiting lists in the South West have also seen the largest increase in the country - up a staggering 26% from 148,422 in 2010 to 186,305 in 2011. One in 12 South West households is now on the waiting lists for social housing. Cornwall saw the greatest increase in the region, followed by Devon.
Home Truths: South West 2012 also shows that:
• Rents in the private sector are predicted to increase by 62% over the next ten years. Forecasts warn the average monthly rent on a three-bedroom house in the South West will rise from £746 in 2012 to £1,209 in 2022
• Buying a house in the South West is increasingly unaffordable with the average home costing £223,870 – 11 and a half times the average local wage. In rural areas it is nearly 13 times local wages
• South West house prices are expected to rise by half (49.7%) to around £335,700 by 2022
• The standard 25% deposit on an average priced home in the South West now stands at £55,967, taking a single person on an average wage over eight years to save enough to buy even a lower priced home.
Jenny Allen, South West lead manager for the National Housing Federation, said: "High house prices, rising rents and the fastest growing waiting lists in the country - these symptoms of the housing crisis are having a huge impact on people across the South West.
"We have been building less than half the homes we need in the region for many years. The result is we now face the very real possibility that an entire generation will be priced out of being able to rent a home, let alone able to buy one. With rents set to rocket - particularly from 2015 - there are fewer and fewer choices open to people who want to live here.
"Now the whole housing sector must take a long-term view to tackle the shortage of homes. Housing associations are ready and able to play their part by delivering more homes but a ready supply of public land is needed to make a real difference."
The National Housing Federation is calling on the Government and local politicians to work with the housing industry to tackle the crisis. But public support for building the right homes in the right places is also crucial and the voices of those who say 'yes' to homes need to be heard.
The National Housing Federation is launching a new campaign, Yes to Homes, to give local people the chance to show councillors and politicians that new homes matter.
If you're worried about housing costs or about where your children will live, tell your local councillor or MP that affordable housing is a must. Visit www.yestohomes.co.uk and make your voice heard.