On the face of it, the fact that average house prices in Yorkshire have risen for the sixth year in a row would seem to be good news – a sign the economy is moving in the right direction.
However, it belies the reality that Britain is in the grip of a housing crisis. The Government says it needs to build at least 300,000 homes a year if the country’s future housing needs are to be met. Yet, with the Institute of Fiscal Studies last month revealing that home ownership levels among young adults on middle incomes have collapsed during the last 20 years, the problem goes far deeper.
According to the National Housing Federation, the average house in Yorkshire now costs £181,740 to buy, which is seven times higher than the local average income, which is effectively pricing out even those who earn a decent salary and preventing them getting on the property ladder.
This housing shortfall is one of the reasons for the rise in house prices with nearly 36,000 too few homes built in Yorkshire between 2012 and 2016.
The situation is exacerbated further by the fact that the average monthly rental costs have risen by seven per cent in the past five years, adding further financial pressure on hard-pressed households at a time when many people’s wages are stagnating.
These problems have been well documented yet still they persist. Urgent reform is needed and housing associations along with the Government, council planners and developers all have a key role to play if we are to bridge the growing gap between the housing market and those on lower incomes.