Housing pushed out of reach in Rotherham

Former housing minister and Dearne MP John Healey has said the cost of housing is causing huge financial strain in South Yorkshire.

Research released today by housing charity Shelter says the ‘bank of mum and dad’ is now paying out on average £23,000 to help their children get on to the property ladder, with many parents eating into savings set aside for retirement or elderly care.

Meanwhile, housing affordability figures released by the TUC showed Rotherham is one of 26 areas to have moved from ‘easily affordable’ to ‘out of reach’ in recent years because of rising house prices and low wage growth.

In 1997, the average house price was less than three times (2.78) the average annual salary, but in 2013 owning a home had been pushed out of reach for many, with prices at five times earnings. The Bank of England recently instructed banks to limit the proportion of mortgages they offer that are more than 4.5 times applicants’ salaries.

Mr Healey said: “The cost of renting and buying a home is causing huge financial strain in our area. The TUC figures bear witness to what many people are telling me, that while their wages don’t go as far, the cost of buying a home just keeps going up.

“House-building under this government is at the lowest level since the 1920s, pushing up prices and making it harder for people to buy. At the same time, the government is refusing to tackle rising rents in the private sector.

“UKIP’s plan for housing is more Tory than the Tories. They’ve said that as a ‘free market’ party they’re not prepared to do a thing to rein in spiralling housing costs.

“Labour would build 200,000 homes a year and clamp down on rising private rents to make buying or renting a home affordable again.”