Eighty-five percent of homes for sale in Northampton are unaffordable to families buying first home, says Shelter

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Only 15 percent of homes for sale in Northampton are affordable for the average working family looking to buy their first home, according to a report from a homeless charity.

Shelter looked at asking prices for thousands of properties for sale in the East Midlands on a given day and compared them with the mortgage that families, couples and single people on average wages could afford as first time buyers.

In Northampton there were 800 properties available with two or more bedrooms, of which 125 were classed as affordable by family based on the value of the average deposit by first-time buyers.

Across the East Midlands as a whole, only 19.5 percent of homes were affordable.

A spokesman said: “The situation is even worse for those hoping to buy with a smaller deposit.

“Shockingly, the charity’s research found 88 percent of homes for sale in the East Midlands are unaffordable for families with a 95 percent loan, as higher monthly mortgage costs push even more homes out of reach. This means that the government’s Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme is unlikely to improve the outlook for first-time buyers.

“Shelter is calling on the Government to put the prospect of a stable home back in reach of ordinary working people by committing to plans to build more homes. These include investment in a new generation of part rent, part buy homes, and making sure that smaller house builders can find the finance and land they need to build,” the spokesman added.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “When a family looking to buy their first home searches a whole town for a place to live and finds nothing they can afford, it’s clear we’re not just facing a housing shortage any more: it’s a full-blown drought.

“As the pool of affordable properties shrinks ever smaller, thousands of people are being forced to wave goodbye to their dreams of a home of their own – even those who’ve been able to put aside a large deposit. It’s a bitter pill to swallow when we know that politicians can turn the tide on our housing shortage in a single parliament.

“Our failure to build more homes is leaving a whole generation of young people with no choice but to remain trapped in expensive and unstable private renting, or stuck in their childhood bedrooms for years to come, no matter how hard they work or save. The only way to bring house prices back within reach is to fill the gap between the homes we have and the homes we need.

“Help to Buy or tweaks to planning rules will only ever be sticking plaster solutions. Bringing a stable home back within reach will take bolder action like helping small local builders to find the finance they need to get building, and investing in a new generation of part rent, part buy homes. What we need right now is for politicians to roll up their sleeves and make stable homes for the next generation a top priority.”