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Housing association proposes ‘solutions for Staffordshire’ as number of middle-aged renters doubles

River View

People in their forties are now nearly twice as likely to be renting from a private landlord as they were just ten years ago.

Research published by the Department for Work and Pensions this month suggests that rising UK house prices have meant that many middle-aged workers are unable to afford to buy their first home.

The Family Resources Survey shows a huge increase in the proportion of 35-54-year-olds living as private tenants and a particular rise in renting among people aged 45-50, often as a result of household debt or divorce.

“For an increasing number of people and families, home ownership is becoming an unreachable goal,” said Sarah Boden, chief executive of not-for-profit housing provider Housing Plus Group. “This is a fundamental change which we saw first in London and which has now spread across huge swathes of the country including significant areas of Staffordshire.

“The result is not only social inequality but a ticking time bomb for the benefits system in 15 or 20 years’ time, when many of those tenants will need financial help to pay their rent.”

Housing Plus Group is proposing a range of housing solutions in Staffordshire, with a wider ‘menu’ of property tenure including a significant increase in the number of new homes available for affordable rent and shared ownership.

The Group is already on site building 109 new homes in a number of developments throughout the county. It has confirmed that discussions with landowners and developers are at an advanced stage to offer almost 500 more homes for affordable rent and shared ownership in local communities.

It is also expanding shared ownership and rental opportunities specifically for people aged 55-plus, with a large development recently completed at River View in Penkridge and plans submitted for new apartments in Kinver.

“Another recent report by the Resolution Foundation suggested that up to a third of young people today face living in private rented accommodation throughout their lives,” said Sarah Boden.

“We need to ask some serious questions about the housing opportunities we are providing in a very different economic landscape. Large developments of family homes for sale no longer meet the needs of towns and villages where residents can’t afford to buy a home outright and who don’t fit the model of a family comprised of two adults and 2.4 children. For many people, affordable rent and shared ownership homes provide a better alternative, enabling them to live, work and contribute to thriving neighbourhoods here in Staffordshire.”

Housing Plus Group is currently engaged with parish councils throughout the area, helping to devise flexible housing solutions tailored to the needs of local communities.