Strategic Housing Market Assessment (Agenda Item 8)
Report of the Assistant Director for Commissioning.
The Executive Member introduced the Housing Enabling Officer and commended the report to Members.
The Housing Enabling Officer advised Members that the last Housing Assessment had taken place in 2006/7 and had identified a significant need for housing in the District. That report was approaching the end of its life.
It was now the Council’s responsibility for determining housing numbers and the Assessment was required to show how to meet the need for all housing types.
A postal self-completion survey had been sent to a random 20% of households, stratified by area. There had also been an option to complete the survey on-line. A satisfactory response had been received and then the assessment work had been carried out mainly in-house with some mentoring support.
The results had shown that the District comprised of a slightly older population than the regional or national average, with a higher than average proportion of gypsies and travellers and low unemployment. Residents tended to live in owner occupied small homes and the average income was £21,000 per household. The District was cheaper than Broadland and North Norfolk and house prices had peaked in 2008. Affordability was slightly worse than other areas with low overcrowding and low property turn-over.
With regard to the future market, the population was projected to rise by 9-11% equating to about 700-850 households per year. About 650 homes per year would be required, mainly two and three bedroom. The annual need for affordable housing had been assessed at 398 units of all sizes in all areas.
The report provided part of the evidence base for the Local Plan and would help to inform Housing Policy on the mix, size and type of housing required. There was a strong need for both market and affordable housing.
The Chairman thanked the officer for an entertaining and information presentation.
Councillor Bambridge raised a note of concern. He felt that when meshing the housing survey with development things sometimes went wrong. Some villages wanted larger houses and he hoped that would be borne in mind when setting Policy.
Councillor Gilbert wondered if numbers on the Housing waiting list would be reduced if the affordable housing numbers could be met. The Housing Enabling Officer confirmed that if the requirement could be delivered in full it would leave a small housing requirement and shorter waiting times. Failure to deliver might increase the numbers on the waiting list which currently stood at about 3750.
The Chairman noted that there had been a shortfall of 8/9000 homes over the last five years. The District could not meet the market housing demand and so would not meet its affordable housing need. The waiting list had grown and with the significant increase in population would grow more in the next ten years. With finances restricted as they were it was a challenging set of circumstances which he hoped would focus the minds of Members on housing needs. All strands interacted and a change to one had an affect on others. Members needed to understand the content of the report. He drew attention to the number of single occupancy houses and said that housing demand would significantly change.
The Vice-Chairman thought that the number of people living alone might be linked to the ageing population as well as to young single people.
Councillor Matthews had participated in a Working Group on housing and remarked that developers were reluctant to build smaller homes.
Members endorsed the document.