IT IS unacceptable that residents on middle income struggle to afford their rent, a Poole property developer has said. 

David Cracklen, director of AJC Group, said affordable housing is needed now more than ever, as Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole is in a “housing crisis”. 

Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics show full-time employees in the BCP area could expect to spend 10.2 times their annual earnings on purchasing a home in 2023. 

Houses in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole were 4.3 per cent more expensive in 2023 than the year before, at an average price of £340,000. In the meantime, wages saw a 4.1 per cent year-to-year increase. 

Bournemouth Echo: CGI of AJC Group's affordable housing development in Lindsay Road, Poole.CGI of AJC Group's affordable housing development in Lindsay Road, Poole. (Image: AJC Group/Arc Architecture)

Mr Cracklen said: “With more families and individuals unable to buy their own home, many have had to resort to rental properties. 

“However, with the pressures also felt in the buy-to-let market, monthly rents have skyrocketed. A recent news piece in the Echo, reported that ‘people on middle incomes are forced to pay more than a third of their wages on rent’. 

“Quite frankly, this is simply unacceptable, as this statistic includes many public sector workers, particularly those working in the NHS and education services.  

“The current social housing registers are at an all-time high, with waiting lists exceeding previous years and hitting record levels.” 

Bournemouth Echo: David Cracklen, director of AJC GroupDavid Cracklen, director of AJC Group (Image: AJC Group)

AJC Group, a private developer, recently committed itself to being a dedicated affordable housing contractor. 

Working with BCP Council and housing associations, it is aiming to build 500 affordable homes by 2028 – with new projects in Waterloo, Broadstone and Turlin Moor. 

However, Mr Cracklen warned it is going to be a “hard feat” to achieve because there is “almost no support for SME housebuilders from the government”. 

“Particularly with the lack of first time buyer incentives available, affordable housing is needed more than ever,” he added. 

“Research by the National Housing Federation and Shelter found that investing in social housing could boost the economy by £50bn and add almost £12bn back into the taxpayers pocket.  

“90,000 social rented homes would need to be built, but would deliver both short-term and long-term benefits, for firstly those seeking housing and secondly the national economy.  

“This would also directly support nearly 140,000 jobs nationwide.  

“Hopefully the next Government will enforce some positive changes in the housing market, and take note from these reports and studies, as not only do we have a housing crisis locally, but this trend is only set to continue nationwide.” 

BCP Council is planning to build 2,000 homes by 2031, with half expected to be delivered within five years. 

People on middle incomes, such as teachers and nurses, are being squeezed out of renting in rural towns and villages in Dorset, analysis from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England said.

Analysis shows that someone in Dorset earning the local median income, which was 32k in 2023, would currently see 39 per cent of their take home pay go on rent for an average two-bedroom property.

Maya Singer Hobbs, senior research fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research, said the housing crisis is not only damaging lives but also holding the economy back and called for an increased investment in genuinely affordable homes. 

“The housing affordability crisis is damaging lives and holding back the economy,” she said. 

“Its root cause is the failure to build enough homes across the country over several decades, including the failure to build enough genuinely affordable homes. 

“To increase housing supply, and ensure homes are more affordable - whether to rent or buy - we need to reform and streamline the planning system, tackle our dysfunctional land market, and increase investment in genuinely affordable homes.” 

A spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: “We are committed to creating a fair housing system that works for everyone, including increasing first-time buyer numbers in all regions and boosting availability of new, genuinely affordable housing. 

“Over 876,000 households have been helped to purchase a home since spring 2010 through Government backed schemes including Help to Buy and Right to Buy. 

“Our long-term plan for housing will go even further to build the homes that local communities want and need, backed by £10 billion to boost supply and £11.5 billion for affordable homes.”