Families priced out of housing market

ABOUT two thirds of families in large parts of Suffolk don't earn enough to buy the cheapest homes on the market according to figures obtained by The Evening Star today.

ABOUT two thirds of families in large parts of Suffolk don't earn enough to buy the cheapest homes on the market according to figures obtained by The Evening Star today.

The figures were used by the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA)to explain why it is vital there is a large proportion of "affordable" homes - built for rent - included in a major housing growth in the region.

The figures come from a report published by the charitable group the Joseph Rowntree Foundation(JRF).

The report was compiled in 2003 - but with the increase in house prices since then, the situation is known to have got worse recently.

According to another report last year, house prices in East Anglia have gone up so much that the only district in Suffolk where prices are "affordable" is Waveney - around the Lowestoft area.

Regional planning officer Margaret Gough told a meeting of council officials and other interested people that 58,600 new homes would be needed in Suffolk by 2021 - but they would need to be accompanied by 51,900 new jobs.

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More than 20,000 of these would have to be in Ipswich and the surrounding area, including Kesgrave, Claydon, Pinewood.

Ipswich itself will have 15,400 of these 20,000 homes.

A large proportion of these homes will have to be for rent, because property prices were preventing many people from getting on the housing ladder she said.

According to the JRF figures, up to 70 per cent of the households in Mid Suffolk and Babergh districts do not earn enough to get a mortgage to buy the smallest home.

Elsewhere in the county - including the Ipswich and Suffolk Coastal areas - up to half of families don't earn enough to get on the housing ladder.

The East of England plan is currently open for public consultation, and is due to be formally discussed at an "Examination in Public" later this year and should be formally adopted by the end of 2006.

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