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LONDON-The National Housing Federation (NHF) has called for the Government for a massive investment in affordable housing. It argues that the Government’s £250 million ($350 million) starter home initiative does not go nearly far enough and, despite claims that 10,000 key workers will benefit, demand will way outstrip supply.

In over half of all English counties outside London an income over £30,000 ($43,000) is needed to buy an average priced home. Whilst London and the South East have some of the most expensive housing the problem is not solely confined to those areas. To buy an average priced home in Herefordshire, for example, an income of nearly £37,000 ($53,000) is needed while in the East Riding of Yorkshire an income of £24,000 ($34,300) is required. In 18 English counties, to buy a home with a 95% mortgage, borrowing three times income, a household needs to earn over £40,000 ($57,200) . In all but four London boroughs incomes of over £40,000 ($57,200) are needed. Barking & Dagenham is London’s most affordable borough.

The NHF has said the figures make ‘stark reading’ as the latest Government figures show that over 70% of households have incomes below the £30,000 ($43,000) level. Liz Potter, policy director at NHF, said, ‘The high cost of housing is now putting essential services at risk- not just in London, but now across many areas of the country. The current buoyancy in the market is masking real dangers for the economy and for homes and families.’

Potter expressed disappointment at the Government’s handling of the housing problem. She said, ‘We had hoped that at this stage- almost 18 months on from the Government’s announcement- we would have been looking to expand the initiative, and not still waiting to get it off the ground. Under the scheme just 3,500 homes will be available annually over the next three years. Demand will inevitably outstrip supply.’

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