Why half of all northerners under 40 cannot afford to buy their own home

Only half of under-40s living in the North can afford to buy a home and around 6,000 extra houses need to be built in Yorkshire and the Humber each year to solve the crisis, research warns today.

The region needs 18,900 homes building every year.
The region needs 18,900 homes building every year.

The region needs 18,900 homes building every year, far more than the 12,600 that were built last year, to fix the housing shortage, according to the National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations, and the Crisis homelessness charity.

Unlike most estimates, the innovative new research – conducted by Heriot-Watt University – calculates how many homes are needed to address the existing shortage of houses, as well as the future demands of the growing population.

The study also suggests the types of homes which need to be built, calculating that Yorkshire and Humber needs around 5,500 affordable homes for people on the lowest income, more than the 1,800 built in the region last year.

One of the main reasons for Yorkshire and Humber’s shortage of homes is the high cost of land – a hectare of residential land in the region now costs £1.5m.

In York, the price is now double that, at £3m.

This forces developers to build expensive homes to ensure they make a profit, the researchers said.

The shortage is having a “serious” and “shocking” impact, according to the report, with one in three under-40s only being able to afford to live in the North if they are in social housing.

Jo Allen, external affairs manager at the National Housing Federation, said: “If we are serious about solving the housing crisis, we have to dramatically increase the number of homes that are being built.

“The Government has already promised more money for affordable housing, but it will take time for this to make an impact. In the meantime, Ministers should take steps to address the biggest challenge that housing associations and others face: the high cost of land.

“This is the single biggest barrier to building the 18,900 homes we need in the region every year.

“The lack of affordable housing is one of the most serious issues facing Yorkshire and Humber, and we must act now to solve it – doing nothing is no longer an option.”

The research also showed that 870 homeless families and individuals in Yorkshire and Humber are stuck in temporary accommodation, according to the latest government data.

Almost one in five of these households are living in bed and breakfasts, one of the most precarious forms of temporary accommodation.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “It’s heartbreaking that in this winter weather thousands of people across Yorkshire and the Humber have to sleep on our streets, stay in tents, live in hostels, and experience other forms of homelessness.

“Many people are stuck in these terrible and often dangerous situations simply because there isn’t enough affordable housing, particularly social housing.

“This is can’t go on.”

Housing Minister Kit Malthouse MP said: “Everyone deserves a home to call their own and we have delivered over 293,000 affordable homes for rent since 2010.

“But we must go further and by scrapping the council borrowing cap, we have set them free to build thousands of new council homes across the country, and our £9bn Affordable Homes programme will deliver 250,000 affordable homes by March 2022.”