Mayor must help generation join property ladder
BRISTOL'Ss mayoral candidates are being urged to put housing at the top of their priority list if they become elected as the city's new leader.
The National Housing Federation says a generation of families in Bristol might be forced out of renting their own home – let alone buying one – because of the city's housing crisis.
It says that years of not building enough homes has led to rising rental and house prices in Bristol and the wider South West, leaving many families struggling to pay for their home.
The federation is holding a housing hustings at the Council House on College Green in Bristol on Thursday so the mayoral candidates can be quizzed about the issue.
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It warns that in Bristol:
â Despite the recession, the average home now costs £206,034, around ten times the average wage of £20,904 and the amount needed for the average 25 per cent deposit in the city is £44,150.
â It would take the average renting individual worker, living in a shared house in Bristol, 7.3 years to save for a 25 per cent deposit for an average first time buyer home.
â The gap between house prices and earnings has grown by 32 per cent between 2001 and 2011.
â Private rents in Bristol have risen 4.1 per cent during the past year while wages have risen by less than one per cent.
â The number of people on a waiting list for an affordable home in Bristol in 2011/12 was 14,585.
The federation's Bristol Votes Housing manifesto is calling on the new mayor to show leadership in tackling the key housing problems which Bristol is now facing. It is also urging them to free up publicly owned brown field land for development, to improve the private rented sector, and to ensure that welfare reforms don't push Bristol households into poverty.
Jenny Allen, from the federation, said: "Our hustings event aims to ensure that whoever is elected as mayor next month is fully aware of the city's housing issues, and is committed to resolving them. We're delighted that many of the candidates are able to attend.
"It also comes in the week that our national Home Truths 2012 report was published, and it paints a very stark picture.
"It found that thousands of working families are increasingly reliant on housing benefit to help pay their private rent.
"If we don't urgently fix the housing market we will have a generation who are priced out of renting a home, let alone buying one.
"We are calling on the Government, the new Bristol Mayor and the whole housing industry to take a long-term joined up approach to tackle the market difficulties."
The federation says that public support for building more homes is crucial and people's voices need to be heard.