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NHF declares West Midlands housing shortage at critical level

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The National Housing Federation (NHF) has today (Friday 21 February) launched its report Home Truths 2013/14 West Midlands and warns that less than half the homes needed are being built each year. 

The report highlighted that house building is failing to keep the pace with population growth and wages lagging behind housing costs. Less than half (48%) of the homes needed just to house new households forming in the region are currently being built, with 17,800 new households expected to form each year up to 2021 but only 8,620 new homes built during 2012/13. Overall the region built the third lowest number of new homes in England over the past year.

The shortage is making housing increasingly un-affordable in the West Midlands. House prices soared 56% between 2002 and 2012, with the average home now costing nearly nine times the average wage at £173,378.

Rents in the region have also risen even faster than house prices, increasing 61% between 2002 and 2012 and set to rise another 39% by 2020. In some local authorities (Wychavon and Stratford-on-Avon), rents have risen around 7% in the last year alone.

The report also pointed out that:

  • Numbers of homeless people living in temporary accommodation in the West Midlands rose 23% over the last two years.
  • It costs £34,676 just to put down a deposit on the average home in the West Midlands.
  • Nearly 80% of businesses surveyed across the country said a lack of affordable housing is stalling economic growth, with 70% warning it would affect their ability to attract and keep workers.
  • Building more homes in the West Midlands would give the regional economy a major boost. Every new home built brings £75,682 into the West Midlands and creates 1.8 jobs directly and in the wider regional economy.

Gemma Duggan, West Midlands external affairs manager for the National Housing Federation, says: “High house prices, rising rents and comparatively low wages in the West Midlands are not only making life extremely difficult for people living and working in the region, but they are also affecting employers and businesses and risk holding back economic growth.

“We need Local Enterprise Partnerships to work with local councils, housing associations and others to take a strategic lead on getting more homes built at the right price in the right places, which will help revitalise communities and create jobs.

“Local people also have an important role to play. Those who want more housing in the West Midlands need to contact local councillors and say yes to homes.

“With more support, housing associations across the West Midlands can be real catalysts for change for local communities. They are in it for the long term and can actively drive forward a balanced economic recovery.”

If you want to find out more you can read the Home Truths 2013/14 West Midlands or take a look at the blog written by Diane Lee, Vice Chair of the WM Regional Committee.