Rural housing at crisis point, warns national agency

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Latest community news from the Suffolk Free Press,, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

The National Housing Federation has warned that there could be a rural housing crisis in Suffolk, making living in the county’s market towns and villages harder than ever.

In a new report, the agency found that less than half the homes the region needs are being built each year and said the shortfall was causing an affordability crisis as housing costs rise and wages stagnate.

In Babergh, it found the average salary increase between 2002 and 2012 was 20 per cent, while house prices rose by a staggering 48 per cent.

Eighty per cent of company bosses surveyed felt a lack of affordable housing would stall economic growth, with 70 per cent saying it would affect their ability to attract and keep workers.

“Not only does the shortage of housing cause huge difficulties for local people, it also has an impact on employers and businesses and even risks holding back economic growth,” said Claire Astbury, East of England external affairs manager for the National Housing Federation.

“Across the East of England, we need local enterprise partnerships to work with councils and housing associations on getting more homes built at the right price in the right places.”

Country Land and Business Association president Henry Robinson said: “Nationally, we need to see 230,000 homes delivered per year just to keep up with demand.”

A spokesman for Babergh District Council said: “The housing shortage is not a new phenomenon and we have been working hard for many years to deliver good-quality housing in our local towns and villages.

“Policies have been designed to encourage appropriate new development and a balance of property types and sizes across all tenures.”