The Government is ignoring the needs of communities by adopting a short-sighted housing policy, a housing chief warned today.

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said many parts of the country were blighted by a chronic lack of affordable housing, with existing homes in poor condition and a lack of facilities on offer for communities.

Speaking at the National Housing Federation's annual conference in Birmingham, Mr Orr said the Government needed to invest in social and physical infrastructure as well as houses to ensure that new developments and existing communities were attractive and prosperous places to live in the long-term.

He said: "Government rhetoric and eye-catching housing initiatives, such as HomeBuy and the £60,000 home competition, are all supposedly part of the neighbourhoods agenda.

"While admirable initiatives in their own right, so far I have seen little evidence of a coherent strategy to ensure successful neighbourhoods exist in 30 years' time.

His comments came as new figures revealed a fresh housing problem in the West Midlands.

Research from the NHF and the Chartered Institute for Housing, show that house prices have risen to seven-and-a-half times average local income within many parts of the West Midlands, rising to eight-and-a-half times in parts of Worcestershire. In 2004 the average house price in the West Midlands was £151,183.