CHESTER’S lack of affordable housing is being probed by councillors.
The all-party group has been told the household income needed for an average price flat is almost £40,000.
House prices now exceed six times income and there is a growing gap between the rate of wage rises and housing costs, which means more and more people cannot afford even the first step on the ladder.
The provision of affordable housing in Chester is “essential” for local families and individuals and the continued growth of the economy, according to a report.
The number of affordable homes which are available is falling as the number of right to buy sales is higher than the number of new rented homes which are being built.
The lack of suitable land for development and high land prices contribute to the problem.
The threshold for the size of developments which should include affordable homes has been reduced from 25 to 15 but councillors feel this could be lowered further.
They say that with fewer large sites available for development in Chester, there are likely to be fewer affordable homes, and question the fairness of an approach which sees home buyers on larger sites contributing towards the cost of affordable homes while those on smaller sites “effectively contribute nothing”.
It is suggested that even developers of a single dwelling should make a cash payment towards affordable housing.