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NHF says housing market faces crisis in south-west

The housing market in the south-west of England is reaching crisis point, according to a new study.Local workers are being priced out of the market, the Home Truths 2013/14: South West report reveals. The crisis is beginning to impact the economy as businesses struggle to attract and retain workers.Rises in wages are failing to keep pace with increases in house prices, the study says. Workers have enjoyed wage rises of just 26 per cent between 2002 and 2012 but house prices have risen more than twice as fast, increasing by 55 per cent.As a result, the average house in the south-west now costs £225,001 - 11 and a half times the average salary.The region is currently experiencing a housing shortage, with just two-thirds of the homes needed in the region being built.Only 13,460 homes were constructed during 2012/13, while 21,500 households are expected to form in the south-west.Jenny Allen, South West external affairs manager for the National Housing Federation, said: "High house prices, rising rents and low and stagnant wages in the south-west 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."She called for Local Enterprise Partnerships to work with councils, housing associations and others to ensure more affordable homes are built in the right places.   News of the housing shortage in the south-west comes shortly after the NHF announced that the West Midlands faces a housing crisis.Less than half of the homes needed to meet demand are currently being built in the West Midlands, the NHF claimed.Once again, the situation in the south-west is having an impact on the public purse, with more people relying on housing benefit to remain in their homes. There has been a 108 per cent increase in the number of working people claiming the benefit in the south-west since 2009 and much of the money ultimately goes to private landlords. 

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