12:27PM, Thursday 22 March 2018
An average worker in the Royal Borough needs a 253 per cent pay rise just to afford a mortgage, according to a new study.
The average home now costs about £584,712 – 15 times the mean average salary in the area, according to the National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations in England.
The federation’s ‘Home Truths’ report said that 1,684 too few homes were built between 2012 and 2016.
Cllr Lynne Jones (Ind, Old Windsor), leader of the opposition at the Royal Borough, said that housing policy should be made using ‘evidence’ and that the current administration had put national policy above the needs of residents.
She said: “We need more social housing and home ownership that is truly affordable.”
“This research is more evidence that says residents have been right with their concerns [on affordability],” said Cllr Jones.
The research also found 31 per cent of housing benefit recipients in the Prime Minister’s constituency are in work, yet still unable to afford their rent.
Average monthly rents are now at £1,430 and account for about 45 per cent of private renters’ income.
Cllr Jones said she would like to see more social housing built and there needed to be a rethink about how the borough could supply housing for young people.
“There’s lots of strong lines like, ‘building a borough for everyone’ but to do that you need to listen to what the demand is,” she said.
Cllr Jones said she hoped the council leaders would now make it clear what levels of affordability in the Borough Local Plan are.
Cllr Ross McWilliams (Con, Cox Green), principal member for housing and communications, said: “We are working with development partners to progress plans for thousands of new homes of which 30 per cent will be a range of affordable housing products, including social housing.
“This sits alongside our work with partners such as housing associations, the Royal Borough Property Company and bringing more than 100 empty homes back into use in the last year.
“All this is part of our wider commitment to create more of the homes people need through a wide range of schemes to make sure the next generation can grow up and thrive in the borough.”
On the Advertiser Facebook page, several commenters have said they are being priced out of town.
Chris O’Sullivan said: “We’re actively looking at the moment and I’m finding it’s cheaper to move out of the area by 10 miles to be able to get the size needed for an affordable price.
“For me to get what I need it’s £500k in Maidenhead, yet I can get the same for £400k outside of Maidenhead. Reading here we come!”
Michael O’Flaherty, of Roger Platt estate agents, said the area was ‘almost a micro market’ because of its proximity to Heathrow, London and now Crossrail.
But he added: “For the first time in many years there is more choice for first-time buyers.”
Director of Braxton Estate Agents Geoff Tomlinson described market activity in the area as ‘pretty good’ but conceded prices can make it difficult for first time buyers.
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