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NHF highlights scale of north-west housing shortage

The National Housing Federation (NHF) has warned of an impending housing crisis in the north-west of England, in the latest of a string of similar forecasts for several UK regions.Its gloomy prognosis is based on the fact that the rate of housebuilding in the region is not sufficient to keep pace with demand, while house prices and rents are soaring beyond the means of the average person.According to the NHF, less than two thirds (64 per cent) of the new homes currently required in the north-west are being built. While 17,500 new households are expected to form each year in the region, just 11,160 homes were constructed in 2012-13.The average price of a home in the area is £155,781, while the average salary in the north-west is just £19,656. In areas such as South Lakeland and Eden, average prices are as much as 11 times higher than the average salary.Rental costs are also rising quickly, increasing by 18 per cent and 12 per cent in Manchester and Lancaster respectively over the past four years. They are forecast to grow by a further 33 per cent by 2020 in the north-west.The NHF points out that rising costs are forcing more people to rely on the government for financial assistance. It says there was a 112 per cent rise in the number of people claiming housing benefit in the north-west between 2009 and 2013.Katie Teasdale, north-west external affairs manager for the NHF, said: "High house prices, rising rents and stagnant wages in the north-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. "Workers in the region are becoming a generation of renters, unable to get on the housing ladder and faced with continually rising rents."Ms Teasdale added that, with more support, housing associations could help promote a balanced economic recovery. 

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