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Housing Crisis 'Getting Worse'

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1:18pm 2nd November 2011
(Updated 1:18pm 2nd November 2011)

There is a warning the gap between wages and house prices in Cornwall could get even wider.

The National Housing Federation is calling our system "broken".

It says the average Duchy home now costs thirteen times the average salary. That is among the worst in the country.

Paula lives in Launceston because she can not afford to buy in her hometown Bude. She said, "The difference in price between here and there is absolutely ridiculous. We've just had a baby and we can't be near the people we're close to. We're seeing where we can save money because that's the only way we're going to be able to afford it, apart from getting an increase in wages which isn't very likely. We're just desperately trying to save everything we can - living off baked beans for a few years."

The average home in Cornwall now costs £228,585 while the average income is £17,628. That means the gross annual income needed to secure a mortgage is around £48,983.

Last year almost eight thousand more families were added to social housing waiting lists in the Duchy.

Across the southwest, the Home Truths report says, 13,220 new homes were built in the region over the last year. That would be enough to house 48% of new households formed over the same time.

Jenny Allen, South West Lead Manager for the National Housing Federation said: "Despite a deep recession - house prices in the South West remain out of reach for thousands of households across the region, including Cornwall.

"Throughout the wider South West, as unemployment is on the up and benefits are set to be slashed, private sector rents also look set to rise. To cap it all, we've also seen the first increase in homelessness since 2003 - a 10% rise with more than 3,200 households accepted as homeless by local councils in the South West in 2010/11.

"Lack of supply is at the root of the problem. Ministers need to act now to implement a range of measures to turn the tide on the current housing crisis,  ensuring that homes continue to be built at scale in the region, that affordable housing options remain, and that housing is properly regulated across all sectors."

Robert Nettleton, Chief Executive of Coastline Housing said: "The average house price for Cornwall is well beyond the grasp of thousands of households at 13 times the average wage. With private sector rents now set to rise, it is vital that there is an affordable option available to those most in need in the county.

"Despite the current economic climate, housing associations in Cornwall and throughout the region are still delivering high quality homes for local people. In fact last year we built 18% more homes than the year before across the South West. This is a demonstration of our ability to innovate to find new ways to provide badly needed housing, even when grant funding has all but disappeared."

1:18pm 2nd November 2011

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