Locals are trapped in housing market crisis

CASH-strapped residents of Hucknall and Bulwell are finding it more difficult than ever to get on to the property ladder — because of the crippling cost of buying a new home.

That’s the warning from the National Housing Federation (NHF), which has lifted the lid on Nottinghamhire’s “broken housing market”.

The NHF report, ‘East Midlands Home Truths 2011’, discloses that average incomes in the Dispatch district leave many locals unable to obtain a mortgage or own their own homes.

In Hucknall and the rest of Ashfield, the average house costs £120,816, which is a staggering six-and-a-half times the average income in the district of £18,481.

These figures are mirrored in Bulwell and the rest of Nottingham where the average property costs £121.771 — 6.6 times the average income of £18,419.

The NHF says the figures show a dire need for action to bridge a widening ‘affordability gap’.

“There is a desperate need for further investment in affordable and social housing across the East Midlands — and Nottinghamshire is no exception,” said Chris Hobson, lead manager for the NHF in the region.

“This year’s ‘Home Truths’ report shows that despite a deep recession, house prices remain out of reach for thousands of households.”

To make matters worse, Nottinghamshire and the rest of the East Midlands is predicted to be hit by the steepest rise in the cost of private rent of any English region over the next five years.

This would mean a hike from an average of £361 a month now to £451 a month in 2016.

Mr Hobson added: “With house prices expected to rise, private-sector rents predicted to rocket, unemployment on the up and benefits set to be slashed, low and middle-income households in the region are in for an extremely tough ride.

“Lack of supply is at the root of the problem, and more investment is needed as an urgent priority.

“Ministers need to act now to implement a range of measures to turn the tide on the current housing crisis.”

Added pressure is expected to be put on the supply of social housing, with the number of residents aged 65 and over in the Dispatch district set to grow.

Mike Andrews, chief executive of Nottingham Community Housing Association, said:

“There is urgent need for investment in housing for the county and recognition of the important role housing can play in strengthening the local economy.”