YOUNG home buyers are struggling more than ever to get a foot on the Stratford property ladder.
The cost of buying even the cheapest homes in the district has rocketed according to Stratford District Council’s annual State of the District report.
The average cost of the lowest priced ten per cent of homes was just under £230,000 in 2016 – an increase of £58,000 on the previous year.
The steep rise is down to the district remaining among the most desirable places in the country to live, which also sees it rank in the top quarter of least affordable places to live outside of London.
Council chiefs are aware of the difficulties facing those looking to purchase a home – particularly young first time buyers.
In the last year some 250 ‘affordable’ homes have been built across the district. The council expect to add an extra 150 to that figure by April. These include homes to rent and buy through housing associations and scheme such as part ownership.
And the council is also holding a free Help to Buy Roadshow tomorrow (Saturday) where people can find out more about home ownership options available to them.
But the report also highlighted a concern for many existing households – that of fuel poverty.
The spiralling cost of living is putting increased pressure on household budgets, and 13 percent of households in the district – above the Warwickshire average of 12.2 per cent – are unable to properly heat their homes.
Council housing spokesman Coun Peter Richards said: “Stratford District Council undertakes ongoing work to promote energy efficiency. The council is part of the Warm and Well in Warwickshire Partnership, and works in conjunction with other agencies in the district to promote affordable warmth. This takes the form of encouraging energy reduction, tariff switching but also looking for areas where individuals can maximise their income in order to help address fuel bills.
“Over the winter, there will be a number of events around the district where agencies will come together to help raise residents awareness of the issues and possible solutions. We also help more vulnerable tenants to do a check to see if they are entitled to ore financial support.
“And this weekend’s Help to Buy Roadshow will help people find out more about their home ownership options. The council is also working with housing associations to provide approximately 400 new affordable homes over the next year for households who cannot afford market housing to buy or rent.”
There was also good news in the report, with crime rates below the Warwickshire average across the board, from burglary, to violent and vehicle crime.
Educational attainment in the district was also above the national average, as were wages, with people working full-time in the district earning on average £568 per week, compared to the national average of £541.
* The Help to Buy Roadshow, running from 10am to 4pm, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel will include the chance to meet builders and housing associations with new-build properties available, get a free mortgage assessment, and speak to solicitors about the process of buying a home.
Visit www.stratford.gov.uk to find out more.