First time buyers in Melton and Rutland will find it harder to get on the property ladder than those in just about every district in the region, a new survey has found.
The National Housing Federation compared wages and house prices in 20 areas of the East Midlands with Harborough and South Northamptonshire the worst places to conduct your first home search.
Melton is next on the list, according to the study, which calculates an ‘affordability ratio’ for each borough based on the average price of the cheapest homes on the market divided by the average income of the lowest earners. Fourth worst place to be a first time buyer is Rutland.
Estate agents who sell homes in Melton and Rutland said there was a shortage of affordable homes locally but they insist the area is no worse than many other parts of the region.
The National Housing Federation report states: “Harborough, Melton and Rutland closely follow South Northamptonshire as the top areas in the East Midlands where average wages, house prices and limited ability to save for a deposit collide to price out would-be homeowners.
“The research found that two thirds of all local authority areas in the East Midlands now have house prices that are over eight times the average wages for first time buyers.”
The figures show that average income of the lowest 25 per cent of earners in Melton is £10,293 and the average price of the cheapest quarter of houses on the market in the borough is £115,000.
In Rutland, the average statistics are £13,442 (income) and £150,000 (house prices) and there was a shortfall of 59 properties in the county last year.
Melton Council said a shortage of new homes was a major cause of the problem.
It said the borough should have supplied 980 houses in the last four years but only 351 had been built.
A spokesperson said: “Currently, housing provision in Melton borough is sitting well below the required annual target of 245 dwellings and this also has implications for affordability, maintaining a higher average across the borough.
“However, the new Melton Local Plan is working with providers in all sectors to ensure suitable housing delivery is achieved over the next 20-25 year period and alongside this the necessary infrastructure is also provided to support housing growth.”
Estate agents who sell and let homes in Melton and Rutland would like to see more new homes provided, particularly affordable properties.
Bentons disagreed with the study, saying first time buyers in Melton had opportunities to get on the housing market includng a collection of affordable homes it was marketing in the development of the town’s former Norman Way courthouse which will be priced between £90,000 and £120,000.
James Warne, the company’s residential director, said: “This survey has come as a bit of a shock to us. I would say house prices for first time buyers are more affordable than lots of other parts of Leicestershire.”
Craig Stephens, franchise owner at Newton Fallowell, said low incomes were a major factor in first-time buyers being unable to purchase.
But he added: “You get very good value for your property here compared to many parts of the East Midlands if you can afford to buy.”
But Mike Ford, senior residential estate agency manager at Harrison Murray, said: “There is a big demand for shared ownership properties in Melton but there is a shortage of affordable homes.”