Looking to Buy a House? You’ll Need 10 Times the Average Salary

9 months ago

We often hear the argument that more housing is needed to meet the demands of residents and in particular their children. So while you contemplate the ‘affordability’ of housing in our district here are some interesting facts that you are faced with when trying to get onto the property ladder in the Rochford District.

  • Average house prices are above the national average at £306,852
  • The rising cost of homes in the Rochford District means that the average home costs over 10.2 times the average salary
  • In addition, average private rents in the Rochford District now cost £898 a month
  • Many working households are reliant on Housing Benefit to cover rents, with 25% of all Housing Benefit claimants in work
  • The income required to get an 80% mortgage is a whopping £70,138

What are the options for those starting out on the property ladder? Better jobs, the bank of Mum & Dad, lower expectations, renting or perhaps an inheritance.

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on getting your foot on the property ladder here in the Rochford District.

*Statistics from ONS – correct as of 2016

Infrastructure, Housing and the ‘Outsiders’

As landowners eye the potential rewards for putting forward their land for development, we are still faced with a lack of infrastructure to accommodate further housing needs.

Have we been blind to the ‘unlocking’ of land in here in the Rochford District with ‘bigger’ infrastructure investments taking place right beneath our noses? Crossrail is due to commence in December 2018 and there are the second Dartford Crossing plans.

These major infrastructure projects have the potential to unlock our District to people who can’t afford to live in London but want to be able to get from ‘A to B’ in reasonable times. Will this put further strain on the supply of ‘affordable housing’ and is this a challenge our ‘local’ residents will now face as they try to compete for the same properties?

Some might argue that this competition already exists and I would agree to a lesser degree, but we could see a further deluge of ‘outsiders’ coming into our areas. Our housing policies must be robust to ensure that those who already live in our district are not priced out.

Will our district be able to cope with this housing crisis in the years to come? This is something that we need to work hard on to ensure that the District prospers for all.

 

Some Success with Sanctuary Housing

Sometime ago I wrote about Sanctuary Housing and there slow response to dealing with tenants complaints/requests. Well, last week I have finally heard back from Emma Keegan, MD of Sanctuary Housing, that finally after a painful 6 months, Sanctuary Housing have completed the work they promised a resident.

I’m not so sure what the hold up was but I’m pleased that the resident has finally got a result.

A final word from the tenant….

Lets hope with your interest, they actually do something about how things have been allowed to get although I doubt it very much.!

It seems the tenant has lost all faith in Sanctuary, but I will continue to work on behalf of residents to make sure Sanctuary provide the service to ALL their tenants and hold them to account should they fail to deliver. Speaking with other Councillors, it would seem that we are not the only ones to be shining a spotlight on Sanctuary Housing.

Watch this space!

Not Such A Sanctuary for Some

On Tuesday night I attended RDC Review Committee. One of the items (which I will post more on shortly), involved Sanctuary. Emma Keegan, MD came under fire from Tory Cllr Shaw for it’s poor performance for maintenance of its property portfolio. Silently, I could not avoid agreeing with Cllr Shaw about Sanctuary’s lack of responsiveness. Yes I too have had to make multiple attempts at getting problems resolved with SH. Are we in a unique situation here in Rochford District? I asked my ‘friend’ Google – oh it seems we are are not alone! This post, tells a tale of woe and even takes us in the direction of a dedicated Facebook group.

Well, if SH are deliver us the promised 500 affordable houses lets hope they do a better job of building them, than it appears they have done of maintaining them.

The Definition of Affordable?

a couple of years ago

It’s something I’ve had many conversations about and I’m sure other Councillors have also had thoughts about but I’ve never really got a clear answer. What is the definition of ‘affordable’ when it comes down to new housing developments. I found this definition on the Government’s website

Affordable housing is social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing, provided to eligible households whose needs are not met by the market. Eligibility is determined with regard to local incomes and local house prices. From April 2012 affordable housing is defined in the National Planning Policy Framework (prior to this the definitions in Planning Policy Statement 3 apply). Affordable housing should include provisions to remain at an affordable price for future eligible households or for the subsidy to be recycled for alternative affordable housing provision.

So that clears that up.

The short answer is if you want to know how affordable housing is defined, don’t ask me! I’m going to admit I’m beat on this one, but I will ask about and see if someone can give me a clear explanation on it. Watch this space!

More Houses…Have the Developers Finally Won?

a couple of years ago

Rayleigh Town Council Planning Committee

Last night’s planning committee meeting was a full evening with numerous big applications being discussed.

What did strike me as odd was the lack of public interest…. we had 2 delightful older ladies come along to make representation on one of the applications and one member of RTC that was attending as a member of the public –  that was it, no other members of public! 120 new dwelling tabled for development in Rayleigh that nearly 20% of the West Rayleigh development and not a soul to make representation….. I’m curious to know, have the developers finally beaten the people of Rayleigh into submission or has the public become so disillusioned with the decision-making process that it’s almost a foregone conclusion that in as little as 10 years from now Rayleigh could become another concrete jungle?

I really thought (or hoped) the lack of turnout at the recent local plan consultation wasn’t a sign of things to come and tried in my own mind at least to put it down to a result of poor publicity and bad timings or maybe it’s true that the people of Rayleigh have just given up on the future of their town?

Dispatches reports: The Great Housing Scandal

a couple of years ago

As high house prices and many properties with 'out of reach' rental costs, does this mean more Rochford residents will be forced on to the housing register and is this a ticking time bomb for Rochford District Council?

Many areas of public land in the UK was earmarked to fulfil the land shortage needed for new homes. However Dispatches investigates public land being sold for below it's 'real' value and how it's been badly managed.

If you do wish to apply for social housing in the district you can do here. 

Could This Help Rochford Meet Our Affordable Housing Crisis?

a couple of years ago

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I often hear the argument made that we need houses that are affordable. Today I came across this article from the BBC which discusses a village which has been built by a private company, which is entirely powered by the sun. It’s an interesting article and in my opinion is very thought provoking.

It seemly addresses a number of issues when it comes to affordability, profitability and sustainability. The article suggests that land is released by the council exclusively  for affordable homes to be built due to the high cost of land. These developments could also see a 4% return on the investment. Perhaps our council would do well to consider this sort of scheme to help house our first time buyers and those struggling to get on the housing ladder?

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