New build homes are out of reach for 80 per cent of working families


Research has revealed that some 80 per cent of working families are unable to afford to buy new build homes, even with government help schemes

The vast majority of working class families cannot afford to buy new build homes. Research revealed even with government-based schemes such as Help to Buy the majority remain priced out of the market.

The research, which was carried out by housing charity Shelter, suggested the current “speculative” way the housebuilding industry works has created a conflict of interest. Furthermore, it has made a highly combative local planning process.


The government has put housing and housebuilding at the centre of their priorities, pledging to build a million new homes by the end of this parliament.

In a bid to create affordable housing, the government introduced a number of schemes aimed at getting people into their own homes. Help to Buy is designed specifically to get lower earning families on the housing ladder by allowing them to buy homes with just a five per cent deposit. However, the research shows even with this scheme new build homes remain out of reach for many.

Shelter said this was obvious when looking at the figures for the West Midlands. The area was highlighted as the least affordable region in England, where a whopping 93 per cent of privately renting families are unable to get on the housing ladder.

Civic housebuilding

The charity is now calling on the government to introduce a “new civic housebuilding” system. This would support the building of new, affordable high quality homes.

Civic housing has a history of success. The charity said it was this method that was used to deliver the Georgian “new towns” of Edinburgh and Bath, as well as other post-war new towns.

Interim chief executive Graeme Brown said in the current climate the housing system was “rigged”, meaning many families have given up on the idea of homeownership. He said changes need to be made to the way in which the nation builds new homes.

He added: “The current way of building homes has had its day and it has failed the nation.”

Shelter said local authorities should also be given greater powers over the land in their area.

A Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) spokesman said: “This Government has got the country building again with the highest number of housing starts for nearly a decade.

“But we agree with Shelter that the housing market in this country is broken, which is why last month, in a housing white paper, this Government set out bold and lasting reforms to fix it.

“Our reforms will help build more affordable homes, more quickly, for those currently locked out of the market.”

Housing White Paper

Difficulties buying property is not a new problem. Last month the government launched a Housing White Paper to “fix the broken housing market”. Speaking before the paper was published Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Walk down your local high street today and there’s one sight you’re almost certain to see.

“Young people, faces pressed against the estate agent’s window, trying and failing to find a home they can afford.

“With prices continuing to skyrocket, if we don’t act now, a whole generation could be left behind. We need to do better, and that means tackling the failures at every point in the system.

“The housing market in this country is broken and the solution means building many more houses in the places that people want to live.”

With this in mind, the White Paper laid out plans to boost local supplies of affordable homes. This included ensuring land was available, diversifying the market, and speeding up the building process.


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