Forecast 37% rent hike highlights Cumbria's affordable housing crisis, says housing boss (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Forecast 37% rent hike highlights Cumbria's affordable housing crisis, says housing boss
A SOUTH Lakeland housing manager has spoken out after it was revealed that the cost of renting is set to rise more sharply than house prices.
Peter Thomas, chief executive of South Lakes Housing, was reacting to the Home Truths 2012 report by the National Housing Federation (NHF), which has forecast that private rental prices will rise by a third across Cumbria over the next six years.
Private rents are set to rise by 36.9 per cent across the county, compared with house price rises of 20.2 per cent.
The most recent figures show that in South Lakeland, the average private rent per month was £533 but by 2020 it could be as high as £729.
In the Furness area monthly rent is currently an average of £419 and could be £574 by 2020, while in Eden it is currently £478 and could reach £654 by 2012.
Mr Thomas said South Lakes Housing, a not-for-profit body which provides social housing in the district, has 2,350 households on its waiting list.
“With an average of 35 bids for every vacancy advertised, there is simply not enough social housing here in South Lakeland. Many local people are struggling with lower incomes and unable to afford the rents charged by private landlords.
“SLH is now a developer of new affordable quality homes and is ambitious about building more homes. The conversion of a former sheltered complex of 25 aged person bedsits into nine family houses and two bungalows in Windermere will be completed in November and is a good example of the work we are doing with SLDC to help local people access affordable housing.
“We would like the government to recognise the unique local issues we have here in South Lakeland and to work with all of the partner agencies to fund new social housing.”
Monica Burns, Cumbrian lead manager at the NHF, which is launching the Yes For Homes campaign, said: “It is really difficult because when we have high rents people are unable to save for a deposit on a house which is what they are trying to do.
“They also need housing benefit just to pay the rent so we will be left with a whole generation of people trapped. “The average age of a first time owner occupier is 37 which is just ridiculous. More and more people will be living with their parents for longer.
“We now have the very real prospect that we have a generation that will be priced out of renting a home in Cumbria, let alone buying one.”