A drop in the number of new homes being started in Wales will keep prices at unaffordable levels and add to the problems of first time buyers, the Welsh Liberal Democrat housing spokesperson, Peter Black has said.
During April to June 2011, 1,205 new dwellings were started, down by 31 per cent on the same quarter in 2010 and down by 7 per cent on the number started during April to June 2009.
The low level of starts over recent years has resulted in a significant decrease in completions. Numbers remained low for the first half of 2011-12, with the July to September 2011 quarter seeing the lowest number of completions ever recorded during a quarter (quarterly data was first recorded in January to March 1974).
“Although there has been a very slight drop in house prices in Wales, this disappointing fall in both starts and completions will keep prices at unaffordable levels for many families, as demand continues to outstrip supply. It will add to the problems faced by first time buyers in getting onto the housing ladder,” said Mr. Black.
“The housing situation in Wales is desperate. The Welsh government has identified that there needs to be 14,200 new homes built each year of which 5,100 are affordable. Neither figure is being met. The number of new affordable homes in particular continues to drag along at about half what is needed.
“There must be urgent action to help first time buyers through this crisis in particular, with the introduction of a deposit guarantee scheme in Wales, along the lines of that introduced in England.
“We also need to urgently get on with the job of providing more affordable homes by actively using alternative funding methods such as bonds and building new homes at differing rent levels, so as to reflect the ability of potential tenants to pay. That would generate income streams that can then be used to increase the number of houses and flats that housing associations can build.”