Hartlepool families face seven-year struggle to buy first home

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YOUNG people in Hartlepool have to save for seven years to put down a deposit to buy a house, figures show.

Statistics released by housing charity Shelter have revealed that single people and couples are finding it increasingly difficult to get on the property ladder in the town.

Shelter looked at average wages, house prices, rents and spending on essentials to show the challenge faced by those trying to save for a home of their own in the region.

It found that couples without children face 3.3 years of saving, leaving many with the difficult choice between getting on the property ladder and starting a family.

Single people and couples with children face an even greater barrier, with a wait of 7.3 and 7.5 years, respectively, until they can afford to buy.

The findings come as a separate Populus poll for Shelter shows that six in 10 parents across the country believe that young people’s prospects for getting on the housing ladder have worsened over the last few years.

For parents with children aged 16 to 18, the figure rocketed to over 70 per cent. It also revealed that more parents feel housing prospects have worsened compared with other key issues including youth employment and education.

Shelter says that successive governments’ failure to build enough affordable homes has left millions trapped in an unstable and expensive rental market, where saving enough for a home of their own is now just a distant dream.

With a General Election less than four months away, Shelter is calling on politicians of all parties to commit to building more affordable homes to give young people a chance of a stable future.

Shelter’s chief executive, Campbell Robb, said: “Home ownership used to be within most people’s reach, but the rising shortage of affordable homes has pushed house prices up so high that for millions of young people it’s now just a fantasy, however how hard they work or save.

“Successive governments have announced scheme after scheme promising to help first time buyers, but these have just papered over the cracks. The only way to make sure young people have a hope of a home of their own is for politicians to roll up their sleeves and commit to building enough truly affordable homes.”

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright said: “Shelter is right to point out that the lack of building affordable homes means that the next generation of young people will find it more difficult than their parents to get on the property ladder.

“Under this Government, house building has fallen to its lowest levels since the 1920s. The Government has cut the affordable homes programme by 60 per cent, meaning it is little wonder that fewer affordable homes were built last year than the last year of the Labour Government and the fewest number of social homes built since records began.

“A Labour Government will prioritise house building, so that people of the North East can realise their dream of a decent and affordable home. That means building 200,000 homes a year by the end of the next Parliament and helping small builders, who can be the lifeblood of a local economy in the North East, to build more. Prioritising housing will not only help young people get the homes they deserve, but will also give a much-needed shot in the arm to the region’s construction industry, providing jobs and growth in our local economy.”