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Our Youth is Being Forced Out of Medway' - say the Liberal Democrats

July 2, 2022 4:46 PM
By Stuart Bourne for Medway Liberal Democrats

Housing Image

The office of National Statistics have released the results of the 2021 national census, and the results show an overall increase of 6% in Medway's population. However they also show a high decrease in population in the young, an indication that many young residents are being forced to move out of the area due to unaffordable housing costs. Medway deserves better than this.

The results show that the population of 20-24 year olds dropped by 16%, and in 15-19 year olds it fell by 15%. This is a dramatically high number considering how many students now study and live here in Medway.

Yet this drop is not surprising considering the shocking state of the housing market in Medway. A report published in September last year by Medway Premier Homes, showed house prices increased on average by 9% between September 2020 and September 2021. And in last 5 years there was a staggering increase of 32% overall. The average price for a typical flat last year was £164,872 and for a new build £370,662. If a wage of at least £28,000 a year is required to afford a £150,000 mortgage, it's clear why young people of Medway are increasingly priced out of the housing market.

The report also highlighted the difficulties in the rental market, with rent prices increasing by 5% between 2020 and 2021. It now costs on average £875 a month rent accommodation in Medway. There just aren't enough houses or flats available to rent, allowing landlords to keep increasing rents for substandard accommodation.

With house prices going up considerably more than wages, and a rental market forcing people into paying more than a typical mortgage repayment, it is easy to understand why the young people of Medway are being forced out of the area en masse.

The only real solution to this is to build more affordable and social houses in Medway. Medway Liberal Democrats are disappointed to see Medway Council not doing anything help build more of these desperately needed affordable homes. They are not forcing developers to build above the minimum affordable home requirement. And in the developments the Council is directly building in Chatham town centre, they are building more luxury flats than affordable homes. It seems they care more about making profits than its residents.

Stuart Bourne, spokesperson for Medway Liberal Democrats said 'This crisis is one that worries me greatly. I'm lucky enough to own my own house, but it took the death of my father for it to have happened. I don't want my own kids having to sit around waiting for me to die before they can afford their own home. But this is exactly what will happen unless we get to grip with Medway's housing crisis.'

Medway Liberal Democrats are therefore calling on Medway Council to do the following immediately to help end this crisis:

1. Stop the delays and dithering on the local plan and produce one that sets clearly where the additional housing will be built, how it meets the needs of Medway's residents and ensure it's built in the correct location.

2. In all future housing developments in Medway the ratio of affordable housing should be way above the minimum required even if it hits the developer's profits. We should no longer be held to ransom by the developer.

3. In all future housing developments built by the Medway Development Company (a company owned by Medway Council) should be almost completely made up of affordable homes and any profits should be solely reinvested into further housing projects.

It's time we swapped Medway Council's priorities around and build the homes that its young people need. We deserve affordable homes for our children and for future generations.


Notes for Editors & additional information

Link to report: https://medwaypremierhomes.com/blog/medway-property-market-review/31277