Housing ladder challenges

‘SHOCKING’ figures show that getting onto the housing ladder has become harder than ever for people in North Somerset.

Figures released by the National Housing Federation (NHF) reveal that average house prices in the district rose by 81 per cent from 2001 to 2011.

The rise (from �117,901 to �213,848) compares unfavourably against wages, which have only increased by 19 per cent in that time.

That means the gap between house prices and wages has risen 52 per cent in those 10 years.

And getting a mortgage has also become much tougher, with the average price of a typical 75 per cent mortgage deposit in North Somerset leaping a staggering 353 per cent from 2001-2011 to �53,462.

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Jenny Allen, South West lead manager for the NHF, said: “These shocking figures show that it is getting increasingly hard for thousands of people in the South West to buy a home of their own in the current climate.

“With the gap between income and house prices having widened so substantially over the past decade, home ownership continues to be out of reach for ordinary families, and looks set to continue to be so for the foreseeable future.”

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Clevedon estate agent Steven Smith believes first time buyers have been almost replaced by buy-to-let investors who can afford to buy the properties, which they know they will then gain an income from.

He said: “In Clevedon, two-bedroom, modern houses have gone up in price by about �10,000 in the past two years - not because of first time buyers but because the buy-to-let market is so strong.

“There are quite a few other factors as well though.

“Because the market has been quite difficult for the past six years, there are high numbers of young people who can afford to buy but don’t want a long-term contract and would prefer to rent.”

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