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NHF: South-east facing housing crisis

A new report published by the National Housing Federation (NHF) says the housing shortage in the south-east is nearing "breaking point".Its data shows that house prices and private rents in the region are quickly becoming prohibitive for local workers. While the average salary in the area rose by 23 per cent in the past decade, house prices soared more than twice as fast, at 56 per cent.The news follows a number of similar forecasts made by the NHF after analysing earnings and property prices in several different regions.According to the latest report, the average mortgage in the south-east requires a gross annual income of £65,067. This is well over double the average salary in the region, which stands at just £23,379.The average house price in the region is now 56 per cent higher than it was in 2002, having reached £284,666. Moreover, prices are forecast to climb a further 21 per cent in 2020 - the second highest rise in England.A particular problem is being experienced in rural areas, where average home prices are now almost 14 times greater than the average income.Only half of the homes needed by the south-east are currently being built - just 19,650 residential properties were constructed in 2012-13, while 38,500 new households are expected to form in the region each year.This situation could start to have an impact on the economy: 78 per cent of south-east businesses are warning that a lack of affordable housing would stall local economic growth and 68 per cent are saying it would affect their ability to attract and keep workers. Warren Finney, south-east external affairs manager for the NHF, said: "High house prices, rising rents and low and stagnant wages in the south-east are not only making life extremely difficult for people living and working in the region, but they are also affecting employers and businesses and risk holding back economic growth."Mr Finney called on housing associations, local enterprise partnerships and councils to take action to help remedy the situation."With more support, housing associations across the south-east can be real catalysts for change for local communities," he added. 

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