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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 September 2006, 07:55 GMT 08:55 UK
Affordable housing 'crisis' fear
Flats in Cardiff Bay

A housing organisation has warned of a crisis because Welsh homes are increasingly unaffordable.

The Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru says the gap between income and mortgage is close to the 1990 peak.

Meanwhile, another report ranks the Cardiff Bay area third in the UK as a "hot spot" for first-time house buyers.

An average one-bedroom home in the CF10 postcode area in and around Butetown sells for 135,421, according to a Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) survey.

The RBS property index of desirable areas said the CF10 postcode, which has an average annual income of 27,584, had benefited greatly from regeneration in the bay area.

It is ranked third in the UK in the survey, after Lindley in Huddersfield and Bo'ness in West Lothian, of 22 areas with most potential.

Toby Wilson
Toby Wilson considered moving to CF10

Other areas in the Welsh top five were Blaenrhondda CF42, Ton Pentre CF41, Ferndale CF43 and Efail Isaf CF38.

Vaughan Gething, the councillor for Butetown, said he was not "overly surprised" the area had come out top as there was such a good range of housing in all price brackets.

Mr Gething, who lives in CF10, said: "Butetown is also still a place in the older housing where you've got a community.

"I think you will get more for your money than some of the newer areas."

But Tom Wilson, 21, said he had considered moving to the area, but struggled to find mid-price properties.

Mr Wilson, who works at Cardiff Guitars on West Bute Street, said: "Some are quite cheap - but when you look you see it's not as desirable. and then you have the really expensive properties - like 300,000 for a one-bed flat in the bay."

Cardiff Bay
The bars of Cardiff Bay add to the area's desirability

He added: "I was looking to buy around this area, but decided to move to Penylan. This area [CF10] is still a little bit underdeveloped at the moment."

Laura D'Rozario, 19, said she had noticed a big improvement in the area in recent years.

"It's very nice round here compared to how it used to be.

"People would not want to live down here because of the gangs and the drug selling, but now everyone wants to come down here. There's a very close community."

LEAST AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Flats in Cardiff Bay
Pembrokeshire 5.86:1
Powys 5.56:1
Cardiff 5.03:1
Ceredigion 4.98:1
Denbighshire 4.91:1
Wales average 4.22:1
CIH Cymru - house price to income ratio, 2005

Ms D'Rozario said the bars and restaurants of the bay, just a five minute walk away, also made the area more desirable.

But a second report released on Wednesday by the Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru (CIH Cymru), has highlighted Cardiff as one of the places where first-time buyers found it particularly hard to get on the property ladder.

CIH Cymru's briefing found the average house price in Wales was 123,362, compared to an income of 29,241.

CIH Cymru director Steve Long said: "This briefing has important implications for housing policy in Wales, and particularly for the need to ensure an adequate and targeted supply of affordable housing for those working households unable to buy their own home, even at the lower end of local housing markets."

It found that for younger working households throughout Wales, the average house price to income ratio is now more than four to one.

In Pembrokeshire, Powys and Cardiff the ratio is more than five to one.

The most affordable areas in Wales were Merthyr Tydfil, Blaenau Gwent and Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Shelter Cymru director John Puzey said there was a knock-on effect on people on the lowest incomes, as people who would have bought "on the lowest rung" were now also competing for "scarce rental accommodation".

He said the charity were "increasingly" working with families who were forced to stay with relatives or friends or in poor accommodation, which had a "dramatic effect" on family life.




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"They're having to club together to get a foot on the property ladder"



SEE ALSO
Wales 'UK cheapest to rent home'
12 Jun 06 |  Mid Wales

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