Housing society vows to build more affordable homes to tackle the housing crisis

December 02 2015

HOUSING association Merlin has pledged to build more affordable homes in South Gloucestershire to help meet an increasing demand.

building houses

HOUSING association Merlin has pledged to build more affordable homes in South Gloucestershire to help meet an increasing demand.

With a new report showing the average South Gloucestershire home now costs more than £230,000 to buy and more than £9,000 a year to rent, living in the area is becoming increasingly unaffordable for many people.

Chipping Sodbury-based Merlin said it owned about 8,000 of the 12,000 housing association properties for rent in the district and vowed to press ahead with plans to build even more.  Currently it is building more than 70 homes, including 22 in Chipping Sodbury and 39 in Coalpit Heath.

The Coalpit Heath scheme to replace houses built of pre-case reinforced concrete forms phase one of a project to redevelop up to 450 non-traditional homes across the area.

Amanda Swann, Merlin’s head of development, said: “House prices are rising because demand for housing is exceeding supply but we’re determined to do our part and increase the numbers of new homes being built in South Gloucestershire.

“We’re already exploring other sites in the area to provide some more much-needed affordable housing.”

A report by the National Housing Federation said would-be homeowners in South Gloucestershire needed to see their salary double to be able to afford the average home in the area.

The document said the average price of a house in the district was nearly nine times the local average salary of £26,400 – up by eight per cent since last year. Average annual rent represented 34 per cent of that wage.

The federation said across England last year, housing associations built 50,000 new homes, accounting for 40 per cent of all new homes in the country.

Meanwhile South Gloucestershire Council will consult on plans to force developers who claim they cannot afford to include a proportion of affordable homes on their sites to publish evidence backing it up.

A target of 35 per cent of affordable homes can be relaxed if builders feel it would make a scheme unviable but the council said the facts surrounding such claims had to be produced.