York is a great place to live, but whether looking to buy your own home, rent privately or you're a council tenant, you may find meeting the cost or getting access to the right housing is difficult.
That's why we have started this campaign, to focus on York's housing issues, and to ask for your input and your experiences.
Click here to tell us your housing story.
There just aren't enough affordable homes:
- The average house price in York in 2011 was 6.79 times the average income - much higher than the regional average (at 5.23, figures from Shelter).
- It is estimated that in order to afford a mortgage for a house in the cheapest 25% of those sold, you need a household income of over £58,000 - well over twice the median average income.
Rents are also expensive. A widely used indicator says that housing costs should not amount to more than 25% of a household's gross (ie. before tax) income. However in York even a typical one bedroom property costs about £124 per week, meaning that someone would need an income of just under £25,800 per year to afford this: £6,000 a year more than the median average household income for people who rent. The Valuation Office put the average rent for a bedsit in York in December 2011 at over £100 a week.
We think that the situation is getting worse. In 2010/11, the City of York Council gave support and advice on housing issues to 1900 people. In the first six months of the 2011/12 financial year, 1668 people asked for advice - indicating an increase in the number of people needing help over the course of the full year of nearly 60%.
The housing charity Shelter published a report indicating that York has the least affordable rents in Yorkshire & Humber, more on a par with the South East of England.
1,000 York households have been hit by the Tory - Lib Dem Bedroom Tax. Approximately 11,000 local people were hit by the Welfare Cap - because York's housing costs are so high that they do not compare to those in the rest of our region. These factors just make housing even more out of reach for some in our community.
If any of this sounds familiar, we want to hear from you.
So what is Labour in York doing?
York can't be just a home for the well-off. We want to see strong, mixed communities, where everyone can enjoy our great city.
- We promised in our local manifesto in 2011 that we would work to deliver more homes for local families. We are doing this, by increasing the target for home building each year, and making more sites available for development. We are now bringing forward brownfield sites like York Central and British Sugar, which have been undeveloped for years, as the first option for new housing developments.
- We are bringing disused buildings back into use. We will see at least 50 more council properties built by mid-2015, and we continue to look at how we can build or buy more homes for council rent over the next few years.
- In February 2013, the City of York Council's Cabinet approved a new strategy document called Get York Building The strategy updates the affordable housing target and makes a new arrangement for small rural developments intended to assist housing developers. It commits the council to build more council houses on existing council land, and allocates £1m to help address overcrowding in council housing.
- We are calling on the government to recognise York's exceptionally high housing costs and makes allowance for this in the new housing benefit regime. We say the government needs to look again at York.
The Labour council is doing all it can to help people affected by welfare reform, and the next Labour government will scrap the Bedroom Tax.
And what do the opposition propose? A whole series of policies that would make York's housing crisis into a housing nightmare.
We want to hear from you: tell us about your experiences of housing in York. Will you be hit by the new rules on housing benefit? Are you renting and unable to afford to buy, even though you would like to? Perhaps the cost of living is forcing you out of York?
Tell us about your experiences to help give us the fullest possible view of what's happening. And, if you like, tell us what policies you think are, or are not, working and what you'd like to see the council and the government doing more of.
Please click here to tell us your housing story.