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04 February 2016

TWO CASTLES DEVELOPMENTS ADD VITAL AFFORDABLE HOMES

Two Castles Housing Association is working to make home ownership more affordable after a report highlighted that the average person in the North East would need a £10,000 annual pay rise to avoid being priced out of the home ownership market.

The report, produced by the National Housing Federation (NHF), revealed that only people earning upwards of £33,968 a year can afford a typical mortgage in the North East. But with the average worker earning £23,202 that means they would need a 46% pay rise – an extra £10,000 a year – to be able to afford a mortgage.

With house prices rising at a faster rate than most salaries and people continuing to struggle to get onto the property ladder, Two Castles Housing Association has built just short of 100 homes this year across the North East in areas where demand is at its highest. All of these homes have been either sold under shared ownership agreements or let at affordable rents, providing a vital supply of affordable housing to people otherwise priced out of the market.

Developments completed in 2015 included 27 new homes in Warkworth, Northumberland; 26 affordable homes in the new £3.4 million Anick View development in Hexham, Northumberland; and eight homes in Shotley Bridge, County Durham.

Work is also underway on another 16 affordable homes in Stocksfield, Northumberland, built by Esh Property Services working alongside Two Castles. Once complete, all of these homes will be sold or let to local people with established connections to the village. To continue to address the shortfall, Two Castles has plans for additional affordable homes in the region in 2016.

Rob Brittain, property services director at Two Castles Housing Association, said: “The NHF’s report indicates that it is simply impossible for many people in the North East to even consider home ownership. This serves to highlight just what a vital contribution our affordable housing makes.

“Through our shared ownership homes we help to make the housing ladder more accessible for hardworking, local people – people for whom home ownership might otherwise simply not be an option.

“Our new housing schemes, such as our development at Anick View in Hexham, continue to be over-subscribed by families who are struggling to stay in the communities they call home. With this in mind we will continue to work hard with partners to continue to address the shortfall in housing throughout 2016.”

In addition to the homes in the North East, Two Castles worked with partners to develop 104 homes in Cumbria during 2015, with another 66 planned in the region for 2016.