New report exposes extent of Three Rivers housing crisis

Three Rivers has been named as one of the top five most expensive areas to buy a home in a new report published today (1st February), exposing the critical work of housing associations such as Hertfordshire-based Thrive Homes.

Thrive Homes says The National Housing Federation’s East of England Home Truths 2016/17 report reveals the seriousness of the housing crisis facing local people, with a shortfall of 58,000 affordable homes across the East of England.

The urgent need for more affordable housing is clear from the report which states that, in the East of England, the Three Rivers area sees the widest gap between house prices and salaries. Across the whole of the East of England region, the average home costs around 10 times the average salary. But in Three Rivers, while the average salary is £31,746, the average house price is £520,644 – a whopping 16.4 times higher.

Only those earning over £119,000 would be able to afford an 80% mortgage, making it the most difficult area in the East of England in which to own a home.

This means that individuals and families are faced with the high cost of renting privately, but monthly rents average £1,434 in Three Rivers – the most expensive in Hertfordshire.

Elspeth Mackenzie, Chief Executive at Thrive Homes, commented: “The Home Truths report further underlines the fact that there is a serious lack of affordable housing in the Three Rivers area. As the largest housing provider in this region, Thrive Homes is continuously working to provide good quality homes and to develop communities where people can afford to live.

“Without organisations, such as ourselves, providing low cost alternatives to private sale or rent, where would people live? A decent home is fundamental to a person’s wellbeing.

“The current lack of affordable housing is having a serious impact on individuals and families who are prevented from establishing a stable life in which they can participate in education and employment and access opportunities in life. If people don’t feel that they have a stake in society then we will see increased feelings of alienation within our communities.

“Statistics show that, in 2016, there were 5772 housing association affordable homes in Three Rivers, and Thrive owns two thirds of these properties. We are a key player in meeting the very real need for affordable homes in Three Rivers and the surrounding areas, and will continue to develop more homes in a bid to end this housing crisis.”

Thrive Homes is working hard to address the issues revealed by the report with plans for an ambitious development programme which will see 800 new affordable homes built over the next 10 years.

The housing association has already invested over £55 million in improving homes and neighbourhoods since its launch less than a decade ago and its latest development plans will mean that many more lives can be transformed.
A new Development Team is currently being recruited to enable Thrive Homes to extend its offer moving forward to provide an even greater mix of housing.

Thrive Homes’ newest development, which is underway in Aylesbury, has already made a huge difference to local people’s lives.

A total of 38 properties are being developed for affordable rent and shared ownership in a £6 million scheme at Berryfields, and the first homes have now been completed.

Parents, Kirsty and Daniel were privately renting before moving into a brand new shared ownership home. Their two young children, Amelia and Oliver, are unable to share a bedroom due to Amelia’s medical needs, so their modern, well-equipped three bedroom home is perfect.

“I was so excited and relieved that the waiting was over,” said Kirsty. “We couldn’t wait to actually move in.”