Gloucestershire’s Housing Crisis Leaves Thousands Struggling

The average price of a home in Gloucestershire is nearly £261,000 – almost 10 times the average salary.

With wages below national average, high levels of rural unemployment, a shortage of affordable properties, and increasing food and energy prices, many people struggle to buy their own home.

Those who choose to rent instead are faced with paying more than £700 a month to rent privately – almost one-third of average income – or joining the long waiting list for a lower-cost housing association or local authority home to become available.

The National Housing Federation has just published its annual ‘Home Truths’ report  for 2016/17, which looks at housing demand, supply and affordability across the country. Its spotlight on the South-West reveals the following about Gloucestershire:

  • The average wage in Gloucestershire is £26,770.
  • The average house price in the county is £260,817 – although a home in the Cotswolds could set you back £382,000, 50% higher than the regional average.
  • Anyone looking to buy their home will need a gross annual income of £59,615 to be able to secure an 80% mortgage.
  • The county has more than 3,500 second homes, and over 2,000 properties are identified as ‘long term empty’ and not being used at all.
  • There are fewer than 30,000 ‘affordable’ homes available to rent through a housing association or local authority, yet there are long waiting lists and almost 16,000 people are queuing up to rent them when they become empty.
  • Almost a quarter (23%) of people claiming Housing Benefit are in work, but relying on state funding to help them make ends meet.
Affordable housing providers across the county have identified the need for another 50,000 homes in Gloucestershire by 2030 to help address current local shortage and future predictions.

On Friday 10 February, the seven organisations which make up Gloucestershire Homes and Communities Partnership (GHCP) will be joined by nearly 100 representatives of other county organisations with an interest in housing, to find solutions to the shortage in the longer-term.

Meanwhile, local housing providers are all working on programmes to build a range of homes to suit different needs, focusing on increasing the number of properties available for low-cost rent in the county’s towns and rural areas. Currently these schemes include:

  • Cheltenham Borough Homes

Currently developing 45 new homes – a mix of new houses and flats spread across seven sites in and around Cheltenham, for affordable rent and Shared Ownership. Working in partnership with Cheltenham Borough Council, CBH is actively identifying further opportunities to continue delivering affordable homes.

  • Gloucester City Homes

Developing more than 40 houses, bungalows and flats within the next year, plus a minimum of 230 further homes in the following two years. These will be available for affordable rent, shared ownership, rent to buy and private sale.

  • Severn Vale Housing

Developing a number of sites within Tewkesbury and the surrounding areas of Gloucestershire. Current projects include (16) new affordable homes at Churchdown in Gloucester and (4) properties at Tewkesbury. More than 55 new homes planned over the next two years. Active asset management through disposing of poor performing properties to reinvest the capital into providing new energy efficient homes. Severn Vale offers project management services to Registered Provider clients in identifying land opportunity and developing new affordable homes within rural villages of Gloucestershire.

  • Stroud District Council

Building 162 new homes this year before 31 March 2017 and adding another 32 in 2017/18. More homes will be built in conjunction with other local housing association partners.

  • Two Rivers Housing

Currently developing more than 200 new flats, bungalows and houses on sites at Newent (77), Bream (13), Churcham (7), Gloucester (22) and Tewkesbury (104). They encompass a range of tenures including affordable rent, market rent, Shared Ownership and private sale. TRH plans to build a minimum of 300 new homes by 2020.

Gloucestershire is in the midst of a housing crisis to meet the needs of those who cannot buy their own home. There are over 16,000 people on the waiting list across the County which highlights the urgent demand for more affordable forms of housing. Gloucester City Homes are delivering new homes in the City which encompass a range of tenures including affordable rent, market rent, shared ownership and rent to buy. We are committed to ongoing investment in affordable housing and strong services to support our tenants. We welcome recent Government initiatives to boost affordable homes supply, but we know that more needs to be done to meet demand. We need to work closely with the Government and key partners to tackle the challenges we all face to increase supply.
Ashley Green, Chief Executive of Gloucester City Homes and member of GHCP
  Average (mean) house price
Gloucestershire £260,817
Cheltenham £274,356
Cotswold £382,104
Forest of Dean £213,284
Gloucester £178,545
Stroud £266,033
Tewkesbury £261,229