Homes 'unaffordable' for families

One in 10 properties in East Anglia is affordable for families looking to buy their first home. Credit: PA Images

Just one in 10 properties in East Anglia is affordable for families looking to buy their first home, according to a housing charity.

Research by Shelter found that only 10% of suitable homes for sale in the region were affordable for a typical working family hoping to get on the first rung of the property ladder.

The charity looked at asking prices for all of the properties for sale in the region on a single day, and compared them with the mortgage that families, couples and single people on average wages could afford as first-time buyers.

In some parts of the region, less than 3% of the homes on the market were affordable - even if families were able to save a 20% deposit.

A number of affordability "black-spots" were also highlighted. They included Cambridge, where there were no affordable properties, St Albans where there were only five, and Watford where only eight homes were affordable.

The charity is calling for action to tackle what it calls a "desperate shortage" of affordable homes.

Shelter's chief executive Campbell Robb said: "When the number of affordable properties in an entire town can be counted on one hand, it's not difficult to see why a stable home of their own is quickly becoming a distant dream for the next generation.

"It's right that young people who aspire to own their own home should work hard and save each month, but with such a pitiful number of affordable homes on offer - even with a generous 20% deposit - our housing shortage is holding them back.

"Unless we build the affordable homes we desperately need, house prices will continue to rise and as a result more people will be forced to live at home with their parents into their thirties, or move into the expensive and unstable private rental market.

"Young people are working hard and doing their bit. Now the government has to meet people halfway and increase the supply of affordable homes - not the supply of credit - or the prospect of a home of their own will slip even further out of reach for future generations."