Building plots are limited by restrictions, says Torbay Council
Waiting lists for council houses in Devon are rising rapidly, with Torbay seeing a 300% increase in the past five years.
The waiting list across the whole Devon county area rose by nearly 50% over the same period.
About 25,000 households across Devon and Torbay are now waiting for a council home, the equivalent of a town the size of Totnes.
Last week more than 600 people in Torbay applied for 15 properties.
Simon Shiberski, executive head of communities at Torbay Council, said: "It's not good enough.
"Some people are waiting for up to three years for a three-bedroom house."
He said the situation was made worse by restrictions on development in the South Hams area, much of which is protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
He said: "We are are doing everything we can to release as much land as possible to meet people's needs."
Riviera Housing Trust, which provides social housing in Torbay, said in a statement: "We are not surprised by these latest figures as salaries are generally low in the South West and property prices are high.
"With the average income in the region standing at £19,016 per annum, affordable housing for local people will continue to be in great demand."
A government plant to build 592,460 new homes in the South West over the next 20 years is likely to be reduced after a 35,000 responses were received, mostly negative.