HOUSING TIMEBOMB; Prices to Soar 71/2 Times Average Income

Article excerpt

Byline: BY BOB HAYWOOD

A HOUSING crisis is set to sweep the West Midlands, according to a new survey.

House prices in the region have soared to SEVEN AND A HALF times average incomes.

This means that young couples seeking to clamber on to the housing ladder are unable to reach even the bottom rung.

They are facing an increasingly hopeless task because banks and building societies will typically lend a maximum of 31/2 times of the joint wages or salaries of house-buyers.

The National Housing Federation West Midlands revealed the crisis, in a booklet entitled The West Midlands' Housing Timebomb.

The Federation represents nearly 180 housing associations in the West Midlands, owning and managing around 260,000 homes for more than 500,000 people.

The document says that affordable house-building is running at half the levels needed, which has led to house-waiting lists rising faster than anywhere in England.

The Federation is calling on the Government to spend more on social housing as council housing stock dwindles because of the Right to Buy legislation and a virtual end to council house building.

The average house price in the West Midlands last year was pounds 158,750, a rise of 90 per cent in just five years. This compares with a 74 per cent increase nationally.

It was around 71/2 times the average income of pounds 21,174.

The housing hotspots in the West Midlands are South Shropshire - particularly around Ludlow - where house prices are 11 times average incomes. …