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First time buyers had a bad time in 2013

In the East Midlands 52% of houses were affordable for first time buyers last year. In the West Midlands it was just 13% of houses - that's according to figures from the Halifax.

House prices are deemed to be affordable if they cost up to four times earnings.

Nationally the number of first-time buyers grew by around one fifth in 2013, marking the strongest annual increase in more than a decade.

West Midlands makes ground on rent rise

Private sector rents have risen twice as fast as wages over the last twelve months.

But according to research by a major lettings network, the West Midlands recorded the sharpest monthly drop for November, decreasing its average monthly rent by 2.6% to £542 per month for November.

LSL Property Services, which owns the lettings chains Your Move and Reeds Rains, says

average rents across England and Wales stood at £753 per calendar month in November, representing a 1.6% increase compared with the same time last year.

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Buy a house for a pound: find out if you are eligible

To be eligible for one of the houses being sold for a pound in Stoke-on-Trent you must:

  • Have a right to reside permanently in the United Kingdom.
  • Be currently working at least 16 hours per week and have been in continuous and secure employment or self-employment for the last two years.
  • Not own property whether in Stoke-on-Trent or elsewhere.
  • Currently reside and have had your primary home in Stoke on Trent for the last 3 years immediately before the application.
  • Have a gross income or a joint income of at least £18,000 and not more than £25,000 per year or £30,000 per year if you have dependent children.
  • Agree to reimburse the Council for the improvement costs, with the Council providing low interest financial assistance.
  • Intend and undertake to occupy the property as your main and principle home for a minimum period of at least five years.
  • Not own assets valued at more than £10,000 in aggregate.

For full details of the eligibility criteria go to the Stoke on Trent city council website.

Council shocked at global interest of £1 house offer

Stoke-on-Trent City Council worker Zainul Pirmohamed is the woman who came up with the idea to sell terraced houses for just £1.

She told ITV News Central reporter Chris Halpin how shocked she is the scheme now has global interest from places as far away as India, China and Australia, with foreign authorities looking at how they could adopt a similar project in run down communities abroad.

£1 house neighbourhood previously had drug problem

Michael Williams has lived in the area of Stoke-on-Trent where houses are being sold for £1 since 1988.

He says in recent years Cobridge gained a bad reputation for anti-social behaviour and drugs, but hopes the new council scheme to sell houses for £1 will give the area the boost it needs.

He hopes the new tenants will take pride in the community, and it will bring more investment to the area.

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Residents confident £1 houses will improve the area

Tax worker Gavin Pierpoint has been successful in his application for a £1 house in the Cobridge area of Stoke-on-Trent.

Thirty-three houses owned by the council have been put up for sale for the tiny price to try and regenerate the area, where many of the terraced properties are boarded up and empty.

ITV News Central reporter Chris Halpin asked Gavin if he was concerned about living in what is now a run down part of the city.

New tenants must help regenerate the community

Rachel Roberts says she's really looking forward to moving into her £1 house in Stoke-on-Trent.

The 31-year-old graphic designer got to see inside her new home on Rutland Road in the Cobridge area of the city for the first time today.

But she explained that part of the deal to get the house for just £1, is to have a proactive role in building the community spirit, as well as a new home for herself.

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