Number of new affordable homes falls to almost record low



The number of affordable homes built in Surrey during 2013/14 was the third lowest in the past 22 financial years

Housing in Guildford town centre, taken from the cathedral on Stag Hill

A young couple have said trying to buy an affordable home in Surrey is a “horrendous” ordeal, as figures show the number of new properties fell to an almost record low this year.

Only 580 affordable homes became available across the whole of the county between April 2013 and March 2014, according to government figures collated by Trinity Mirror’s Data Journalism Unit.

That’s nearly 200 homes fewer than the 760 added to the market in the previous annual period – a fall of 23.7%.

In only two financial years since 1991/92 have there been fewer affordable homes built.

Young Guildford couple Jenny and Ben Thornton, both music tutors who currently rent a two-bed flat near Merrow, have struggled to find affordable housing.

Jenny, 24, and Ben, 26, planned to move into a part-buy, part-rent house in Guildford through a housing association, but it fell through at the last minute after their mortgage application was declined.

Jenny, a former University of Surrey and Academy of Contemporary Music student, said: “I think that because we are self-employed and young, most banks do not want to take the risk, but in this case we were so far down the line that we had lost money on solicitors and reservation fees.”

Jenny went on: “Because we are young and self-employed, and do not have as stable an income as a solicitor or teacher, it is difficult. But we have been renting for five years and never missed a payment.

“Renting and buying in Surrey is horrendous, but it is such a nice place that we just don’t want to move away.

“We may be young, but as my mum says ‘you don’t want to be retired and still paying off a mortgage’ so we wanted to get a good start in life.

“I think a lot of young people are being pushed out. When you walk down the high street, apart from students, there are not a lot of people our own age.”

Waverley was one of the 10 worst hit areas in the country with a massive 83% drop in affordable housing according to the figures, after just 20 homes were added in the 2013-14 financial year compared to 120 previously.

Jeremy Hunt, MP for South West Surrey, said: “Providing more affordable homes in all regions throughout the country is imperative and something that local authorities are looking at closely.

“Young people, families and key workers have a right to choose to live in south-west Surrey and this is why I support Waverley Borough Council’s recent efforts to consider appropriate sites for developments, which include affordable housing, while preserving the beauty of the area.”

Area 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12R 2012-13R 2013-14P % Change 12/13 to 13/14
Waverley 60 30 120 20 -83.3%
Runnymede 140 90 50 80 40 -50.0%
Surrey 750 880 830 760 580 -23.7%
Epsom and Ewell 70 30 120 180 160 -11.1%
Reigate and Banstead 130 160 90 90 100 11.1%
Guildford 60 90 70 20 30 50.0%
Mole Valley 60 20 100 20 30 50.0%
Tandridge 30 50 60 40 60 50.0%
Woking 50 30 30 10 20 100.0%
Elmbridge 50 190 70 30 130 333.3%

  • Spelthorne and Surrey Heath are not included because figures were not available for the 2013/14 financial period.