Town rental market boom as house sales slump

PEOPLE across Weston, Worle and North Somerset will struggle to get a foothold in a chaotic housing market over the next decade, according to new figures.

With home ownership in the South West predicted to slump to a low not seen since the mid-1980s, letting agencies are taking on new staff to accommodate for the boom in letting.

The National Housing Federation, which released the forecast figures, says that huge deposits, growing house prices and stricter mortgage lending criteria will mean less and less people across the district are able to buy their first house, and will instead rent for longer.

The figures predict that the proportion of people living in owner-occupied homes will fall from 71.8 per cent last year, to 65.9 per cent in 2021.

Allied to this is a predicted increase of 24.8per cent across the region in house prices over the next five years, with prices expected to rise from an average of �212,800 to �265,500.


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Land registry figures show house prices rose across the South West by 2.2per cent in the past two months – more than any other region in the country, and local experts say first-time buyers are in for a tough time.

Gail Cooke, owner of Cooke and Co Property Lettings and Sales in Worle High Street, said: “We’ve certainly experienced a boom in letting, we’ve had lots of young couples from the area come to us who had been looking to buy their first house, but have been unable to get onto the ladder.

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“It is just so hard to get a mortgage that they are unable to. I think some of the top financial analysts have predicted that we will become more like Europe, where renting is more common than buying, and I think these conditions will stay for a while to be honest – the buying market is really erratic.”

Darren Clapp, managing director of Glentworth Letting Agencies in Orchard Street, Weston, said his firm had experienced a big rise in lettings over the past 18 months, with three new staff being taken on to accommodate the boom in that time.

Alan Blake, of Weston-based Sage Independent Advisers, said: “It has become incredibly hard to get a mortgage, and that is why people are finding it difficult to get onto the ladder.

“Nowadays if you have just one month of bad credit history that can stop you from getting one, whereas if you don’t have a credit card and therefore haven’t been able to pay payments back you are ranked as having a bad credit history – therefore I’d recommend everyone looking to get a mortgage to have at least one credit card.”

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