New report exposes extent of housing crisis in Buckinghamshire

Buckinghamshire has been named as one of the most expensive areas to buy a home in a newly published report, exposing the critical work of housing associations such as Thrive Homes.

Thrive Homes says The National Housing Federation’s South East of England Home Truths 2016/17 report reveals the seriousness of the housing crisis facing local people, with a shortfall of almost 90,000 affordable homes across the South East of England, the second highest shortfall in the country.

The urgent need for more affordable housing is clear from the report which states that, in the South East of England, the Buckinghamshire area sees a huge gap between house prices and salaries. Across the whole of the South East of England region, the average home costs around 11 times the average salary. But in Buckinghamshire, while the average salary is £32,750, the average house price is £428,327 – more than 13 times higher.

Only those earning almost £98,000 would be able to afford an 80% mortgage. This means that individuals and families are faced with the high cost of renting privately, but monthly rents average £1113 in Buckinghamshire – over £150 more expensive than the South East of England average.

Elspeth Mackenzie, Chief Executive at Thrive Homes, commented: “The Home Truths report further underlines the fact that there is a serious lack of affordable housing in the Buckinghamshire area. With a growing portfolio of properties in Aylesbury Vale, Wycombe and Milton Keynes, Thrive Homes is continuously working to provide good quality homes and to develop communities where people can afford to live.

“Without organisations, such as ourselves, providing low cost alternatives to private sale or rent, where would people live? A decent home is fundamental to a person’s wellbeing.

“The current lack of affordable housing is having a serious impact on individuals and families who are prevented from establishing a stable life in which they can participate in education and employment and access opportunities in life. If people don’t feel that they have a stake in society then we will see increased feelings of alienation within our communities.

“We are a key player in meeting the very real need for affordable homes in Buckinghamshire and the surrounding areas, and will continue to develop more homes in a bid to end this housing crisis.”

Thrive Homes is working hard to address the issues revealed by the report with plans for an ambitious development programme which will see 800 new affordable homes built over the next 10 years.

The housing association has already invested over £55 million in improving homes and neighbourhoods since its launch less than a decade ago and its latest development plans will mean that many more lives can be transformed.
A new Development Team is currently being recruited to enable Thrive Homes to extend its offer moving forward to provide an even greater mix of housing.

Thrive Homes’ newest development, which is underway in Aylesbury, has already made a huge difference to local people’s lives.

A total of 38 properties are being developed for affordable rent and shared ownership in a £6 million scheme at Berryfields, and the first homes have now been completed.

Parents, Kirsty and Daniel were privately renting before moving into a brand new shared ownership home. Their two young children, Amelia and Oliver, are unable to share a bedroom due to Amelia’s medical needs, so their modern, well-equipped three bedroom home is perfect.

“I was so excited and relieved that the waiting was over,” said Kirsty. “We couldn’t wait to actually move in.”