Foundation urges action for younger households

Ramesh Sharma

June 1, 2004

Figures compiled for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation point to more than 1.25 million younger households in England, Scotland and Wales whose incomes would be too high to qualify for housing benefit if they were living in ‘social’ rented accommodation, but too low to afford a mortgage on even the cheapest two or three-bedroom homes for sale in their area.

Just over a fifth of households aged under 40 are affected across Britain – but in London, the South East and South West regions, one in three are potentially part of an alternative ‘intermediary housing market’ for those who cannot afford full ownership. It is estimated that nearly 60,000 newly formed young households each year find themselves in this situation.

Author of the study Professor Steve Wilcox of the University of York said: “This analysis reveals a yearning gap in the market for intermediate housing products such as shared ownership and attractively-priced private renting that is potentially much larger than previously recognised by government or housing providers.”

The study comes on the back of figures released by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) which showed how the number of households under 30 with mortgages has dropped from 40 per cent to 36 per cent between 2000 and 2004. Ten years ago the figure was 46 per cent. It also reported that only one in three would be able to afford homes by 2026 on current plans.

Housing and Planning minister Yvette Cooper commented: “For the sake of today’s ten-year-olds we need to start planning new homes for the future right now.”

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