The dream of home ownership is slipping away from families across the West Midlands as the number of new homes fails to keep up with demand, Labour has warned.
New research found that the number of households in the region rose by 83,200 between 2010 and 2014 – but just 35,850 new homes became available, a shortfall of 47,350 homes.
Shadow Housing Minister Emma Reynolds said the housing shortage was contributing to “a growing disconnect” between the economy and the finances of working people.
She highlighted Labour’s commitment to getting 200,000 homes built a year by 2020, saying: “These figures show the Government has failed to tackle the growing housing shortage which is central to the cost-of-living crisis.
“We need to build many more homes to keep up with demand. Owning a home is out of reach of many low and middle-income earners. Labour is clear that you can’t deal with the cost-of-living crisis without building more homes. That’s why Labour has committed to getting 200,000 homes a year built by 2020.”
Labour has also set out plans for a “mansion tax” on properties worth more than £2 million to pay for a 10p starting rate of tax.
The Government argues that 200,000 new affordable homes have been delivered since April 2010 and 41,654 affordable homes were started in the year to March 2014 – 15 per cent higher than the previous year.
The number of affordable homes in Birmingham from 2010 to 2014 was 2,740.
More than 2,842 households in the West Midlands have been helped to buy a new home thanks to the Government’s help-to-buy scheme.
They include 2,264 which took advantage of a scheme in which buyers are lent up to 20 per cent of the cost of a new-build home, so that they need only a 5 per cent cash deposit and a 75 per cent mortgage to make up the rest.
The Government also offers mortgage guarantees on any home, whether new-build or not, effectively allowing people to borrow more. This option has been taken up by 578 households in the region.
Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said: “This government is fixing the broken housing market we inherited in 2010. We’ve scrapped the failed top-down planning system, built over 445,000 homes, and kept interest rates low for homeowners. We’ve also helped homebuyers get on the housing ladder, because if people can buy homes, builders will build them.
“House building and buying are now at their highest level since 2007 and climbing, while rents are falling in real terms. Last year councils gave permission for 216,000 new homes under the locally-led planning system, and more than 1,000 communities have swiftly taken up neighbourhood planning.
“It’s clear evidence the Government’s long-term economic plan is working, but there is still more to do, and we will continue to prioritise resources to build more homes and improve the housing market.”
But a new survery found one in five people fear having to move out of their local area because of the high cost of housing.