How do we measure quality of living? An impossible question to answer perhaps because it depends on so many things. However, how we are able to live our lives, our expectations and where we live must play a big part in it for most of us.
Surveys and magazine articles have consistently placed Waverley among the most desirable parts of the country in which to live. This conclusion is supported by official statistics relating to deprivation. What is deprivation? One definition suggests that deprivation is the damaging lack of material benefits considered to be basic necessities in a society. Figures published for 2015 placed Waverley in position 323 (out of 326) of the most deprived English local authorities. Or, to put it another way, in 2015, Waverley was the fourth least deprived area in the country.
The fact remains however that living in Waverley is more expensive than most areas outside London because of the cost of housing. Shelter, the charity that campaigns to end homelessness and bad housing published a report in 2012 which analysed household incomes and house prices in each local authority area since 1996. The study showed that
- house price inflation was higher than wage inflation in every local authority area in England and
- the difference was greater where housing cost more in the first place (which means that the problem was getting worse)
and it is still getting worse.
Nationwide building society has a valuation tool on its website. This shows that house price inflation for a 2-bed flat or a 3 bed detached house in Farnham since 2013 to the present is around one third (about 34%). While this may not be as scientific an exercise as the Shelter study it does illustrate that house price inflation still outstrips the rate at which incomes are rising.
The alternative for anyone looking for somewhere to live in Waverley is to rent – either privately or from the council or a social housing landlord. The fact that renting a 2-bed property in Farnham is at least half as much again as it would cost in Waveney (in Suffolk) illustrates that house price inflation creates demand on the rental market, forcing rents up. The reasons for comparing the rental markets in Waverley with Waveney include:
– they have similar population, area and population densities
– the Nationwide valuation tool suggests a 20 % increase for a 2-bed property compared with 2013 in Waveney (compared with 34% in Waverley).
That leaves social or council housing. Waverley Borough Council currently has around 1,700 applicants on its Housing Register (this obviously does not include applicants who did not meet the requirements for inclusion on the Register). Its website warns applicants who are on the Register of the possibility of having to wait a long time for an offer of accommodation and that some of them might never receive one (this is based on 300 council homes becoming available each year).
In fact only 89 affordable homes were completed and 34 started in Waverley last year (these figures include affordable homes for ownership as well as renting).
While Citizens Advice cannot create more homes which might slow down house price inflation or provide affordable options we can offer information and advice on Benefits, Work, Consumer Issues, Relationships, Housing, Law and Rights, Education, Discrimination, Tax and Healthcare you can make contact by:
- calling 0344 848 7969 to speak to an assessor or make an appointment to talk to an adviser face-to face. (calls to this service cost the same as calling 01 and 02 numbers included as part of a mobile allowance or a landline call package.
- visiting https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ to access our comprehensive range of information and advice,
- or follow us on https://twitter.com/waverleycab