YOUNG people in South Tyneside have to save for almost 10 years to put down a deposit to buy a house, according to new figures.
Research by housing charity Shelter claims that single people and couples are finding it increasingly difficult to get on the property ladder in the borough.
Shelter looked at average wages, house prices, rents and spending on essentials to show the challenge faced by those trying to save for a home of their own in the region.
It found that couples without children face 4.4 years of saving, leaving many with the difficult choice between getting on the property ladder and starting a family.
Single people and couples with children face an even greater barrier, with a wait of 9.5 years until they can afford to buy.
The findings come as a separate Populus poll for Shelter shows that six in 10 parents across the country believe that young people’s prospects for getting on the housing ladder have worsened over the last few years.
Shelter says that the failure of successive governments to build enough affordable homes has left millions trapped in an unstable and expensive rental market and, with a General Election less than four months away, it is calling on politicians of all parties to commit to building more homes.
Shelter’s chief executive Campbell Robb said: “Home ownership used to be within most people’s reach but the rising shortage of affordable homes has pushed house prices up so high that for millions of young people it’s now just a fantasy. Successive governments have announced scheme after scheme promising to help first-time buyers, but these have just papered over the cracks.
“The only way to make sure young people have a hope of a home of their own is for politicians to roll up their sleeves and commit to building enough truly affordable homes.”
South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck said: It is harder than ever today for families to get onto the housing ladder, and increasing numbers of people say they don’t believe they will ever own their own home.
“This is a sad state of affairs, and it won’t change until we build more affordable homes. We need a Labour Government that will build a million new homes by 2020 and help families fulfil their dreams of home ownership.”
Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn added: “Under the Tories house building has fallen to its lowest level since the 1920s.
“Rising demand must be met by rising supply, that is why Labour are committed to build 200,000 houses a year by 2020 if elected in May.”
Coun Allan West, South Tyneside Council’s lead member for housing and transport, said: “We recognise that providing decent and affordable homes for our families to live in is essential.
“In 2013, the council helped establish a new independent not-for-profit company, South Tyneside Housing Ventures Trust Ltd, whose objective is to deliver at least 400 new homes in its first five years. Housing Ventures is already actively delivering new homes in key locations across the borough.
“Working alongside the Homes and Communities Agency, registered providers including the Ventures Trust, have secured approximately £5m grant funding in the past year alone to deliver 257 affordable mixed tenure homes in the borough from 2015.”