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Property shortage could fuel ‘pensioner pockets’

A lack of affordable homes in England’s rural areas has resulted in young people and families being priced out of the property market. This could lead to parts of the country becoming “pensioner pockets”, where only older people can afford to live, the National Housing Federation has warned.

The NHF says that its new analysis of population trends outside major towns and cities has found that younger generations who aspire to “grow up and grow old” in rural villages and towns are struggling to get a foot on the local property ladder.

As a result, the proportion of pensioners in England’s rural communities is expected to soar by 2021.

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “Our idealistic view of the English countryside is fast becoming extinct. Workers and families aspiring to live, work and grow up in the countryside can’t find homes they can afford. If we don’t build more homes, these places will become ‘pensioner pockets’ rather than the thriving, working communities they can be.

Orr said that all that was needed to deal with the rural housing crisis was a “handful of high quality, affordable new homes” in villages or market towns.

“The government has committed to ending this housing crisis within a generation. To make this happen across the country now it must free up land and provide proper investment in affordable housing.”

The NHF’s research found that West Somerset would be the area most dominated by older households by 2021, with 47% expected to be of pensioner age by then.

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