Report outlines housing crisis

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Thousands of people across Northamptonshire are struggling to find a home they can afford as the East Midlands faces a massive shortage of new housing.

A new report by the National Housing Federation - Home Truths: East Midlands 2012 - found that while there were about 22,000 new households in the region in 2011/12, only 9,930 new homes were built.

As a result of the shortfall of homes in the East Midlands, house prices and private rents are being pushed up, making it increasingly difficult for people to afford to rent a home, let alone buy one. In rural parts of the East Midlands affordability is even more of an issue, with the average home costing 8.9 times the average income, compared with 7.4 times in more urban areas.

The report found that 40,000 families in the East Midlands were living in overcrowded homes last year; private rents in the East Midlands are predicted to increase by 67 cent over the next 10 years – an increase of £342 per month and the biggest percentage increase in the country; social housing waiting lists in the East Midlands have risen by 16 per cent over the past decade, with 116,439 households waiting for a social home in 2011.

Across Northamptonshire, there were 17,507 households on waiting lists in 2011, up 22 per cent since 2001.

Homelessness rose 77 per cent across the county over the last two years, with a staggering 1,116 households accepted as homeless in 2011/12.

Northampton saw the most new households becoming homeless with 696 families being accepted as homeless in 2011/12 compared with 276 in 2009/10, an increase of 152 per cent. In Corby only one more household was accepted as homeless in 2011/12 compared with 2009/10. In Wellingborough there was an increase of 60 per cent, or 65 more households. The news was better in Kettering where the number of households accepted as homeless dropped by 50 per cent. There were 41 households accepted as homeless in 2011/2012 compared with 82 in 2009/10.

Home Truths: East Midlands 2012 is being launched at the houses of parliament today (November 21), with MPs and councillors from around the region joining the debate on housing issues, including Northampton South MP Brian Binley.

Chris Hobson, East Midlands lead manager for the National Housing Federation, said: “We’re simply not building enough homes for people in the East Midlands. This means hard working people are really struggling to keep up with the high costs of renting or buying a home and Northamptonshire is no exception.

“The East Midlands is set to see the largest increase in private rents of anywhere in the country, so it’s just going to get even tougher. This coupled with rising house prices means we now face the very real possibility that an entire generation will be priced out of being able to rent a home, let alone buy one.

“There are over 116,000 households on housing waiting lists in the East Midlands and homelessness has risen by a quarter in the past two years. These issues show the human cost of the housing crisis in the East Midlands and cannot be ignored.”

The National Housing Federation is calling on the Government and local politicians to work with the housing industry to tackle the crisis. It is also launching a new campaign, Yes to Homes, to give people the chance to show councillors and politicians that new homes matter.

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