- Labour councillors secure a review of affordable home ownership products in the borough
Barnet has the fifth highest percentage (29 per cent) of properties for sale valued at £1m or over in London according to research by estate agent emoov.co.uk reported in the Daily Mail.
The top 5 boroughs with the highest percentage of £1m+ homes for sale are Westminster (63 per cent), South Kensington & Chelsea (62 per cent), Camden (43 per cent), Hammersmith & Fulham (36 per cent) and Barnet (29 per cent).
Labour councillors raised the issue at this week's Housing Committee (Mon 27 June) and got cross-party support for a report to come back to the committee on what affordable home ownership products are available to residents in Barnet in order to assess their affordability for different household income levels in the borough.
The discussion at Housing Committee follows a BBC investigation reporting last week that found many people are being priced out of the government's Help to Buy Individual Savings Account scheme designed to help first time buyers save for a home, as the average price of a starter home in London costs more than the maximum purchase cap of £450,000.
According to Zoopla, the average asking price for a two-bedroom house in Barnet is now £572,155 - £122,155 above the cap for accessing the 25 per cent bonus offered with a Help to Buy ISA.
A two-bedroom flat is £498,736 - £48,736 above the cap, although a one-bedroom flat is £332,773 - £117,227 below the cap.
The Barnet Labour Group Housing Commission report published earlier this year found that even lower quartile house prices locally were 11 times lower quartile household incomes in Barnet, putting home ownership out of reach for many people in the borough.
The Commission also found that low cost home ownership products would not be affordable for those with either median household incomes or lower quartile household incomes in the borough.
For example, the government's Starter Homes product which has a minimum discount of 20 per cent from market prices would mean a median price Barnet home at £460,560 would cost £368,448 which is still 9.65 times the median household income (£38,147).
Shared ownership products, where people purchase part of the property with a deposit and mortgage, and pay rent on the remaining part are also not affordable for many people. The maximum 75 per cent share that can be purchased of a median price home will be 9 times the median household income, with rent to be paid as well on the remaining 25 per cent share.
The minimum 25 per cent share that can be purchased is affordable at 3 times the median household income, but rent and service charges on the remaining 75 percent can push the cost beyond what many on modest and low incomes can afford.
Labour Group Deputy Leader and Housing Spokesperson, Cllr Ross Houston said: "Home-ownership in Barnet has fallen at least 12 per cent in the last fifteen years because house prices have rocketed so high, outstripping wage increases.
"House prices are now so high in places like Barnet that even low cost home ownership products are not affordable for many people.
"We really need to look at this in some detail and work out what we can do to help more people achieve their dream of owning their own home."
For more information contact Cllr Houston: firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568