Only one in four families can afford to buy homes in town
SHOCKING figures have revealed that just one in four homes are affordable for families in Swindon.
Around eight per cent, 104 of all houses for sale in Swindon, are affordable for a single working person on average income, according to Shelter – a housing charity.
Its study has revealed the figure following a study into the current available housing stock. It also uncovered that there are just 28 per cent or around 328 homes for sale in Swindon that are affordable for working young couples on average incomes with children.
But it was not all bad news; Swindon is the only place in the south of England where it could take a couple with a child less than a decade to save for a deposit. In many places it will take considerably longer, with couples having to save for over 15 years and over 20 years in parts of London.
Lee Maidment is hoping to move in with his partner Laura Curtin but said he expects it to take at least seven to eight years before they are able to save for a deposit.
“It’s really hard to save up, you have to give up lots of other things,” said Lee, aged 26, who works as a digital media consultant. “There isn’t a great amount of houses out there to buy. It would be useful if more was done to help first-time buyers.”
Laura, aged 25, said it was a worry trying to save enough money for a home.
“The deposits are really expensive,” said Laura, who works in advertising.
“We are paying rent at the moment and on top of that we have bills and we still want to go out and do things.”
In January the couple are going to start a strict saving timetable but still expect it to take the best part of decade to collect the cash for a deposit.
Anne Snelgrove, right, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for South Swindon, said: “Shelter’s findings reveal the shocking truth about the housing situation in Swindon. Only 1 in 4 houses are affordable for families, and for single people only eight out of every 100 homes are affordable.
“The total of new homes completed in Swindon has halved from over 1,000 in the last year of the Labour Government to just over 500 last year. No wonder young people in Swindon despair of owning a home of their own.
“Shelter’s research shows that rent in Swindon for private houses has risen by £316 on average due to the shortage of supply, making it even harder for young people to save for their own home.”
Councillor Richard Hurley, cabinet member for public protection, housing and streetsmart (delivery) said: “The recession doesn’t help – but hopefully the market has been picking up. We are expecting to build more houses in the coming years.”
He said the fact Swindon was the only place in the south of England where couples could buy a home in less than decade is testament to the council’s efforts to support families with the cost of living.
Managing director at Swindon Castle Estate Agents, Mark Noble, said in recent years people had been struggling to buy a home due to a lack of equity but since the launch of the Right to Buy scheme there has been an increase in people calling for information about mortgages.
“We have experienced an increase in interest from people about the Right to Buy scheme,” said Mr Noble. “It’s still in the early stages so we shall see in the coming months.”
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