The Rise of Unaffordable Rents
Research by Shelter reveals ordinary working families face unaffordable private rents in 55% of local authorities in England
Over 3.4 million households now rent privately in England, a rise of 1.3 million since 2001. However, for many the costs push at the limits of affordability. A commonly accepted standard for affordability is that rent should be no more than 35% of take home pay. Shelter's report has found that over half (55%) of local authorities in England have a median private rent above the 35% level.
In Oxfordshire the costs are even less affordable, a two-bedroom property representing 36% of take-home pay in Cherwell, 38% in West Oxfordshire, 38% in Vale of White Horse and 39% in South Oxfordshire. Of course, not everyone lives in two-bedroom properties. Larger families in three-bedroom homes can expect to spend 44%, 46%, 46% and 48% of their take-home pay on rent in Cherwell, West Oxfordshire, Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire respectively. And spare a thought for renters in Oxford City, the most unaffordable local authority outside London, who can expect to shell out 55% of their pay on a two-bedroom property.
ORCC's Rural Housing Enablers have recently undertaken research into those responding to Housing Needs Surveys. On a sample of eight rural parishes it was found that 66% had a total household income below the median in their district. Also, taking a snap shot of rental costs in a parish at a given time, the analysis revealed that rent levels on properties of all sizes were often above the district-wide averages noted in the Shelter report. Clearly, therefore, there is variation in rent levels across the county. But the unaffordability of housing is a common denominator for many households across the county, with costs even higher in certain areas.
ORCC works with the Oxfordshire Rural Housing Partnership to help provide much needed affordable homes across the county. At the moment ORHP is working in some 60 parishes, at varying stages of the affordable housing process, from undertaking housing needs surveys to the submission of planning applications. Developments have recently completed in Hornton, Stanton Harcourt, Wootton and Chadlington.
Your community could undoubtedly benefit from affordable housing. So why not get along to the Parish Council and raise the issue? Also, if you are in need of an affordable home, it is in your interests to get on your District Council's Housing Register as soon as possible. Ask for a form at your local council office.
Tags: Rural housing Rural sustainability