North East Housing Market 'At Breaking Point'
14 October 2014, 06:00
A new report by The National Housing Federation has found the North East is in the middle of a housing crisis.
The report claims the costs of buying or renting a home in the region is becoming out of reach as people struggle to secure jobs and make ends meet on low wages.
The 'North East Broken Market, Broken Dreams' report reveals that despite having the lowest average house price in England of £141,210, the North East also has the lowest salaries, meaning workers in the region are expected to pay six times the average income to own a home.
The average salary for people in the North East of £23,239 doesn't come close to the £32,277 required for an average mortgage in the region, pricing thousands of workers and families out of owning a home.
Top five most unaffordable areas in the North East
Average (mean) house price - £172,640
Average (mean) salary - £23,863
Ratio of house prices to incomes - 7.2
Newcastle upon Tyne
Average (mean) house price - £169,887
Average (mean) salary - £24,773
Ratio of house prices to incomes - 6.9
Average (mean) house price - £153,768
Average (mean) salary - £23,057
Ratio of house prices to incomes - 6.7
Average (mean) house price - £139,302
Average (mean) salary - £22,979
Ratio of house prices to incomes - 6.1
Private rental properties are also placing a strain on household budgets, with people spending an average £482 on rent, a quarter of their monthly income.
Working people struggling with housing costs are adding extra pressure to the housing benefit bill according to the report, with more low and middle income earners on £20,000 to £30,000 a year needing support to keep a roof over their heads.
15.5% of all households claiming housing benefit in the region are in work, a proportion which has more than doubled since 2008.
At the same time, almost one in ten working age adults in the region are out of work with Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Sunderland topping the list for the highest unemployment.
The report blames the North East's affordability crisis on the lack of the right types of homes in the right places in the region.
Over the next 20 years, 156,000 households are expected to form in the North East, and the region will face a shortfall of 75,000 homes by 2031 if properties aren't brought back into use or enough new homes aren't built.
Every new affordable home built in the North East adds £80,532 to the regional economy and creates 1.9 jobs.
Monica Burns, external affairs manager for the National Housing Federation in the North East, said:
"The housing crisis in the North East is part of a broader community crisis of people living on the breadline and unable to access secure jobs.
The property market in the region isn't working and will only get worse for working people, local families and the next generation if we don't take action.
It's taken us a generation to get into this housing crisis and will take us a generation to get out of it."