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House prices and affordability

Herefordshire is the worst area within the West Midlands region for housing affordability, where house prices at the lower end of the housing market are 8.6 times higher than lower quartile annual earnings. Provision of subsidised housing is therefore a priority for Herefordshire that needs to be addressed through partnership working between Herefordshire Council and Registered Providers.

Figure 1.  How Herefordshire house prices have changed between 1999 and 2016, as compared to the West Midlands and England & Wales.

Chart showing the trend in average property prices in Herefordshire compared to the West Midlands and England & Wales between 1999 and 2016

Source: Ratio of house price to residence-based earnings (lower quartile and median). Office for National Statistics © Crown Copyright 2017

Affordability

The preferred measure for house price affordability is the ratio of lower quartile house price to lower quartile earnings. For 2016, the ratio for Herefordshire was 8.6, that is, for those on lower quartile earnings, a house at the bottom end of the market would cost them 8.6 times their annual earnings.

The table shows, that in 2016, Herefordshire had the worst affordability ratio out of the 14 West Midlands authorities (unitaries, counties and metropolitan boroughs) and neighbouring English authorities.

Area Affordability ratio (2016)
Stoke-on-Trent (UA) 4.0
Wolverhampton 5.4
Sandwell 5.6
Birmingham 5.8
Walsall 5.9
Telford and Wrekin (UA) 6.0
Coventry 6.1
Dudley 6.2
West Midlands 6.5
Staffordshire 6.7
England and Wales 7.0
Warwickshire 7.8
Shropshire (UA) 8.1
Solihull 8.4
Worcestershire 8.5
Herefordshire, County of (UA) 8.6

Source: Ratio of house price to residence-based earnings (lower quartile and median). Office for National Statistics © Crown Copyright 2017

Figure 2.  Over the previous decade, Herefordshire’s affordability ratio has been consistently higher than those for both the West Midlands and England as a whole. The county’s affordability ratio increased at a greater rate than regionally and nationally during most of the previous decade, reaching a peak of 9.7 in 2007.

Chart showing the trend in affordability ratio in Herefordshire compared to the West Midlands and England & Wales between 1999 and 2016.

Source: Ratio of house price to residence-based earnings (lower quartile and median). Office for National Statistics © Crown Copyright 2017

Affordable housing

The last local housing market assessment recommended a long-term target, to help balance the housing market, by achieving a suitable mix of affordable housing types of 45% social rented and 55% intermediate housing. This is to reflect the volume of existing and emerging households who can afford more than social rents, but cannot afford to rent privately or to purchase a home. The proportion of intermediate tenure on the affordable housing stock list is currently very low.