New research from the housing and homelessness charity Shelter released today (23 October) shows that in over half of England, less than 10 per cent of suitable homes are affordable for a typical family hoping to get on the property ladder.
In some areas the problem is even greater, with fewer than 10 affordable homes for sale in an entire local authority area.
The research shows the same problem in multiple parts of the country, with less than five per cent of homes affordable in places such as West Somerset, York and Warwick. There are also several black-spots, such as Brent and Cambridge, where not one of the homes for sale was affordable for a typical family.
Though it aims to help families such as these, the government’s new Help to Buy scheme is also out of reach for most. Research shows that first-time buyers would be unable to afford the scheme’s mortgage costs in over 80 per cent of the country.
Previous research commissioned by Shelter showed that on average, young families today will need to save for over a decade before they can afford the deposit needed to buy. 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.
The situation is even worse for single people looking for a home of their own; for this group, less than 10 in every 100 suitable homes on the market were affordable in over 80 per cent of the country.
The research comes as census data shows that home ownership in England has dropped for the first time since records began. Shelter is warning that unless the government tackles the root cause of the housing crisis – the desperate shortage of affordable homes – things are only going to get worse.
Campbell Robb, Shelter’s Chief Executive, said: "It’s right that young people who aspire to own their own home should work hard and save each month, but with such a pitiful number of affordable homes on offer – even with a generous 20 per cent deposit – our housing shortage is holding them back.
"Young people are working hard and doing their bit. Now the government has to meet people halfway and increase the supply of affordable homes – not the supply of credit – or the prospect of a home of their own will slip even further out of reach for future generations."