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Guildford Houses Unaffordable For Many Local People – Local Councillors Comment

Published on: 20 Aug, 2012
Updated on: 24 Aug, 2012

A new study of average salaries compared with property prices showed that Guildford, Cambridge and Oxford were the least affordable. The result is that many local people find themselves priced out of the housing market.

A typical property in Guildford now sells for seven times the joint earnings of a house-hunting couple, according to a report by search engine

Unsurprisingly there is a big north-south divide. Houses in Hull, for instance, were within financial reach of first-time buyers on average local incomes, it was found and couples could afford nine out of 10 houses for sale in Glasgow, Dudley, Stoke-on-Trent, Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

The South East and West of England were the least affordable regions overall due, in part, to an increase in overseas buyers and the growing catchment area for London commuters, the report added.

Towns and cities in the home counties are the least affordable places in the UK to live, with up to three out of four houses too expensive for local people, according to new research.

The Guildford Dragon NEWS asked Local Councillors to comment on the report.

Cllr Angela Gunning, Leader of the Labour Group at GBC stated: “Guildford Labour Group has always advocated that it is imperative to provide more affordable housing for Guildford Borough and  to date the Borough has failed miserably.

‘Three out of four houses beyond the reach of people on average salaries’ [according to the report] – I’m surprised it’s only that! With over 3000 on the waiting list for social housing, the findings of this survey are an indictment of Council priorities.

Fewer and fewer young people will be able to find a home in Guildford. The Labour Group argues for more affordable housing in the borough at every available opportunity, and it was top of our election pledges in 2011.

Cllr Steve Freeman the Lib Dem Housing Spokesman, wrote: ” We need:

  • a planning policy that can encourage the development of cheaper homes.  We should be building the homes that people need, not the ones that the developers want to build
  • new ‘affordable’ rents that can be charged by housing associations on new build can be up to 80% of market rates.  We believe that these rents are too high for many people looking for a home in Guildford and that a lower level is more appropriate.  I understand that the council is already considering this within housing policy which we welcome.
  • housing associations should still have good access to inexpensive loans in areas like Guildford where we have a lower ‘affordable’ rent level.
  • to make better use of existing social housing by providing it when people really need it, but giving encouragement and advice to move to ownership or shared ownership when this becomes appropriate.  The council is already doing this via its flexible tenancy model.”

Colleague Cllr Caroline Reeves, added: Young people in Guildford these days have to rent or stay living at home and that means that the rental market simply gets stronger and stronger.We need more “affordable housing” although very little is truly affordable in Guildford for those starting out. Because of the right to buy, our housing stock is so depleted only those in severe need can obtain social housing.

As Liberal Democrats we have always pushed for a higher percentage of social housing as part of any development. I am very pleased that GBC is building more social in the borough for the first time in many years. We need more still.

Conservative Councillor, Richard Billington wrote: “It is no surprise that Guildford ranks alongside Oxford and Cambridge on housing prices as, it is clear from the report that it is one of most desirable parts of the country in which to live. This is due to many factors; location, over eighty percent of Guildford is green belt, but also it has had good Conservative run local government over many years.

Guildford Borough Council provides through its housing services, advice to many first time buyers. “We also try to maintain range of options in affordable housing either rented or shared ownership for people who are unable to buy on the open market. Younger, first time buyers join the housing register which takes into account that they have strong Guildford connections.

“We are also taking direct action as a Council to provide affordable housing by building new ones ourselves. New Road in Gomshall and Lakeside Close in Ash Vale both currently have planning applications in. We are also looking at a number of smaller sites around the Borough in addition to this.

“At the last election the Conservatives promised to work hard to bring empty homes back into use and since October 2011 So far we have brought 98 empty homes back into use.

“But there can be no room for complacency. Any area needs a mix of properties and affordable housing is vital. Guildford Borough Council remains committed to social house development and seeks to add this wherever possible”

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Responses to Guildford Houses Unaffordable For Many Local People – Local Councillors Comment

  1. Bernard Parke

    August 21, 2012 at 6:40 am

    As soon as affordable housing becomes availiable here in Guildford it is snapped up by absentee ‘buy to let’ landlords.
    Not only do these people live in other parts of the country, some are overseas residents.

    This is quite common malady in Universty Towns.

    Perhaps it is also worth reminding people that no local taxes are paid.

    It is reasonable to release students from this council tax burden but in such cases the tab should be picked up by these absentee landlords.