‘No easy solutions’ to housing problem, says Topsham city councillor


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There are no easy solutions to tackling Britain’s housing crisis, says an Exeter city councillor for Topsham.

An affordability survey commissioned by Lloyds Bank found that property prices in Exeter were 8.36 times higher than the average worker’s salary.

Lloyds used official earning figures and house prices from Halifax’s database to make the findings.

Cllr Margaret Baldwin said house prices in Topsham were much higher than the rest of Exeter.

She said: “I am disappointed that young people can’t afford to buy their own property. In my day, we were able to get on the housing ladder in our 20s, now it is not until people are in their 30s.

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“I know my own children have experienced difficulties in getting onto the housing ladder in London.

“Also in my day, one wage was sufficient to buy a home, now you need two salaries. But times have changed and there are no easy solutions to this problem.

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“Exeter is playing its part in building new homes, but the city is thriving with a lot of people wanting to move here. When there is that demand, it pushes up house prices.”

However, she believes government-backed schemes, such as Help To Buy, is giving first-time buyers a fighting chance.

The scheme gives buyers an interest-free loan, financed by the taxpayer, to top up their deposits,

The English Housing Survey 2014-2015 revealed that 63 per cent of all householders own their own home in England.

Cllr Baldwin continued: “I believe home ownership rates will stabilise as there are plenty of government schemes available to help people get onto the housing ladder. The British like to own their own homes.

“I know in my ward, with the Newcourt development, that a lot of the houses being built qualify for these schemes.”

Cllr Rob Newby said ‘people-power’ was the only way to make the ‘right’ changes happen on housing.

He revealed his daughter and her partner were desperately trying to save for a deposit, so they can start their own family.

Cllr Newby said: “We need people-power to create real change on this and for residents to come together and say enough is enough.

“My biggest bug bear is with development – we need schools, doctors and convenience stores along with homes. Not to stick a load of houses somewhere and to worry about the rest later. They should grow together, hand-in-hand.”

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