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Experts warn of housing timebomb

London SE1 website team

House prices in Southwark have soared by 44 per cent whilst average earnings have risen by only 21 per cent over the past five years according to new figures.

Over the same period house prices in Lambeth have rocketed by 48 per cent whilst average earnings have increased by just 8 per cent according to figures released this week by the London Housing Federation and Family Mosaic.

London's Housing Timebomb, compiled by the London Housing Federation, paints a worrying picture for would-be first-time buyers.

A housing market forecast, commissioned by the Federation from Oxford Economic Forecasting, predicts that house prices across London will rise by a further 34 per cent by 2011.

The report reveals that Southwark's housing situation is already dire. There are 7500 people (Lambeth: 10,600) on waiting lists for affordable housing, and 970 (Lambeth: 2,400) in temporary housing.

The number of affordable homes being built is still being outstripped by those lost through Right to Buy; last year 650 new affordable homes were funded by the Government and 1760 were sold off.

In Lambeth 340 affordable homes were funded by the Government and 1057 were sold.

Brendan Sarsfield, chief executive of Family Mosaic, says that more affordable housing is desperately needed in Southwark and Lambeth: "High house prices mean buying a house in the private sector is an impossibility for many ordinary Londoners.

"At Family Mosaic we are building what we can but many more people need housing than we can help. We need more investment in affordable homes to ensure that there is a safety net for everyone left behind by the housing boom."

Family Mosaic – based in Queen Elizabeth Street near Tower Bridge – is one of the largest housing associations in the UK, providing homes and housing services for around 45,000 people in 20,000 homes across London and Essex.

Having received the Housing Corporation's second largest allocation of Social Housing Grant for 2006-08, Family Mosaic will develop 1,500 new homes in the next two years – 330 in Southwark and 211 in Lambeth.

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