Shock figures for North Devon’s ‘broken’ housing market

Joseph Bulmer

District is the most poorly paid in the entire South West, according to a new report released today.

THE housing market in North Devon is “broken” with property prices almost 15 times the average local wage, which is the lowest in the entire South West, a new report has warned.

The district is the second worst place in Devon for unaffordable homes and rising rents, the National Housing Federation will claim today (Wednesday) with the publication of its South West Home Truths 2011.

The shocking and unpalatable statistics in the report show North Devon is also ranked fourth in the entire South West in the list of least affordable local authority areas for housing.

They say the average cost of a North Devon property is �225,327 at 14.8 times the average income of �15,215.

It also says North Devon had 2,774 households on the waiting list for housing in 2010, an increase of 248 on the previous year.

The South West Home Truths report is being launched today at a special reception at the Palace of Westminster, hosted by North Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson. MPs and councillors will hear a keynote speech by National Housing Federation chairman Lord Matthew Taylor.

Jenny Allen, South West lead manager for the National Housing Federation said: “This report shows that - despite a deep recession - house prices in Devon remain out of reach for thousands of households.

“In North Devon, for example, the average home costs almost 15 times the average person’s salary and to get a 75 per cent mortgage at three-and-a-half times your salary, you’d need a gross annual income of �48,284.

“Affordable and social housing is struggling to cope with demand. With the growing threat of unemployment, coupled with cuts to benefits and predictions that private sector rents will rise, that demand is only going to get worse.

“Ministers need to act now to implement a range of measures to turn the tide on the current housing crisis, ensuring homes continue to be built where they are most needed, that affordable housing options remain and that housing is properly regulated across all sectors.”

Torridge fares better in the survey, with coming in at 12th in the overall South West rankings, but with similar figures, an average property price of �210,227 equalling 13.8 times the average income of �15,288.

In the “Devon league table” Torridge ranks at number five whilst only 900 households were on the property waiting list in 2010, compared with 1,209 in 2009.

“Everything in the report is painfully true and regrettably nothing new,” North Devon Council Leader, Councillor Brian Greenslade told the Gazette.

“That’s why the new administration here at the council is making the delivery of more affordable housing for North Devon and why we want to try and do more to bring empty homes back into use, a top priority.

“I wish I could say this will cure all the problems we face with housing, regretfully it won’t, but it should bring about a real step forward in housing provision.”