Housing shortage in Gloucestershire hits hard
THOUSANDS of people in Gloucestershire could be left fighting for a home with the region facing a massive shortage of new housing.
In Stroud and the Forest of Dean, waiting lists for social housing are among the fastest growing in the country.
A new report by the National Housing Federation says waiting lists for social housing have leapt by more than a quarter in 20 years.
And in Stroud and the Forest of Dean, the lack of affordable housing is particularly acute.
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The waiting list for social housing in Stroud grew by 32 per cent in just one year, up from 1,966 in 2010 to 2,605 households in 2011.
And in the Forest of Dean the increase between 2010 and 2011 was 29 per cent rising to 2,261 households.
The NHF says the shortfall of homes in Gloucestershire is pushing up house prices and private rents, making it increasingly difficult for people to afford to rent their own home, let alone buy one.
The report adds that we are building less than 60 per cent of the homes we need in the South West.
One in 12 households in the South West is now on the waiting list for social housing.
The NHF has predicted that rents in the private sector could increase by 62 per cent over the next ten years.
Forecasts warn that the average monthly rent for a three-bedroom home in Gloucestershire will rise from £775 in 2012 to £1,256 in 2022.
Current average monthly rents for a three-bedroom home are £904 in Cheltenham and £664 in Gloucester.
Buying a house in Gloucestershire is increasingly unaffordable with the average home costing £230,782 – over 11 times the average local wage.
In the Cotswolds, average homes cost £334,715 – 20 times the average local wage.
Jenny Allen, South West lead manager for the National Housing Federation, said: "We now face the very real possibility that an entire generation will be priced out of being able to rent a home, let alone able to buy one.
"With rents set to rocket – particularly from 2015 – there are fewer and fewer choices open to people who want to live here."
Gloucester city has bucked the trend seeing a 13 per cent reduction in the waiting list to 3,884 households in 2011.
Mattie Ross, Stroud District Council executive member for housing, said it is building more affordable rented houses. Last night the council executive was expected to approve plans to build 100 council houses on its garage sites. "We want to build new houses, perhaps not as fast as the rate I would like but we are doing our bit," said Councillor Mattie Ross (L, Stonehouse).
"There is a very fine line between building very high specification homes and building as many as we can.
"The garage sites plan is very innovative, and we don't have the land cost because we own the land."