Housing shortage could see rents rocket

By Ian Dipple Friday 02 November 2012 Updated: 02/11 11:31

RENTS are expected to rocket by almost 50 per cent across Redditch by the end of the decade leaving many families struggling to afford their home.

Years of failing to build enough new affordable homes will lead to years of rising rents in the private sector the National Housing Federation has warned.

Although it predicts rents will remain stable throughout 2013, steep rises are expected from 2015 to 2018.

The average rent in Redditch is currently £486 a month, but the federation's Home Truths report predicts by 2020 the average cost will be £714 or almost £9,500 a year. The report also warns in future working families are going to be relying on benefits to afford their home.

Gemma Duggan, West Midlands lead manager for the National Housing Federation, said: "We have reached the point of no return for the housing market.

"Successive governments have failed to tackle the under-supply of housing and time is now running out, with an entire generation at risk of being priced out of renting a home, let alone buying one."

A total of 753 new affordable homes have been provided across Redditch in the last ten years but Redditch Borough Council accepts it needs to do more.

The previous Conservative administration announced in February its intention to build council homes again. But it is believed the Labour group favours an alternative plan to gift land to housing associations as any new homes would be protected from the Right to Buy scheme and would not be lost into private ownership in future years, depleting the amount of affordable homes available. A report is currently being prepared into the various options.

Coun Mark Shurmer, responsible for housing on the council, said by concentrating so hard on private rents the report was in danger of missing the bigger picture.

"The private rented sector certainly plays an important and valuable role in the local housing market, but trying to second-guess what the future looks like is difficult, because there are a number of factors that could cause rents to rise or fall in this area during the next ten years," he said.

"But the bigger picture around supply and demand is also about providing a much wider package of support to prevent homelessness, making the best possible use of existing housing stock in the borough, and working with private sector landlords to ensure a steady supply of affordable housing options remains in place here."

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