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Mersey housing 'timebomb' as average cost nears pounds 250k.

Byline: BY KATE MANSEY Daily Post Staff

EXPERTS last night warned that Merseyside's housing market was a "ticking timebomb" as it was revealed the average house will cost pounds 250,000 by 2011.

Soaring property prices are set to dwarf earnings, with house prices in Liverpool to cost 6.3 times the average salary in the next five years.

In 2005 the cost of an average house in Merseyside was pounds 137,000, nearly double the price of 2000 when it was just pounds 70,700.

But that will rise again by 77% by 2011.

The average salary in Merseyside is pounds 20,700.

But that will have to rise to more than pounds 35,500 by 2011 to keep up with inflation in the housing market.

Statistics, compiled by the Oxford Economic Forecast, yesterday sparked dire warnings from the housing profession.

Malcolm Struthers, spokesman for the National Housing Federation, said:

"Merseyside's housing situation is a ticking time bomb.

"And what we're looking at is a real crisis.

"The rapid rise in house prices in Merseyside puts a huge financial strain on those looking to get a foot on the property ladder.

"It also affects key workers such as nurses and fire fighters whose salaries will mean that to be able to buy a house they will have to take a mortgage many times higher than what they earn.

"This has a major social and economic impact in Merseyside and the knock-on effect is going to be horrendous."

Figures released yesterday show the North West has experienced England's highest price rise in recent years.

England experienced a 74% house price increase since 2000, compared to the North West's rise of 95%.

Estate agent Steven Beilin, managing director of Liverpool firm B E Property Services, said: "What the Merseyside housing market needs is stability.

"Rather than just an ongoing rise there have been ups and downs along the way and what we need is some sustainable growth.

"I think we've taken a big chunk of the rise brought to the market from Liverpool's Capital of Culture win already and I don't know how much more there is to come from that. But what is certain is that nobody can beat the market. If it goes down, everybody's goes down.

But if it goes up everybody's goes u p. "

Wider economic and social implications are expected from the effects of the fluctuating housing market.

Last year more than 17,350 families in the North West were accepted as homeless by local councils, giving the region the highest number of homeless people outside London.

The National Housing Association has calculated that Merseyside must find between 3,500 and 4,250 affordable homes in the next five years to meet the growing demand.

Mr Struthers added: "At the moment there are more than 200,000 families on waiting lists for affordable housing.

"With homelessness and housing waiting lists rising so dramatically in the region, the government must provide more affordable homes to tackle these major issues.

It is vital that through the comprehensive spending review 2007 the Government make housing a top priority for increased investment.

"We need to make sure that housing is a top priority."

OPINION: PAGE 10

kate.mansey@liverpool.com

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 15, 2006
Words:564
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