Boston’s housing market is set to improve according to a town estate agent - after a report labelled the borough one of the least affordable places to rent in the region.
The National Housing Federation highlighted Boston in its latest report, saying people in rented homes have to fork out 32.4 per cent of their income on their rent alone.
That’s based on the mean earnings being £20,748 on an average rent of £560 a month.
Thomas Campbell Estate Agents director Harry Drury said everything he has heard suggests the picture will improve. He told The Standard: “One resolution to this is to encourage builders, both local and national, to invest in to the area and build affordable housing. Having knowledge of plans for this in the near future, I believe that the situation will now slowly improve.”
He said Boston is a ‘fantastic’ place to invest in property, with impressive yields of up to 10 per cent - above a common goal of seven to eight per cent – with a surge of buy-to-let investors in Boston hunting for a return on their money which is much higher than savings accounts such as ISAs.
He added: “It is true that the wages to rent ratio is tight in the borough but we as an agency are responsible when letting property to low earners and ensure that correct affordability checks are carried out alongside the usual referencing procedures.
“This is important not only for the landlord but also for the property and the ‘happiness’ of the tenant. That said, we are finding ourselves currently receiving expressions of interest from around 14 prospective tenants per property advertised.”
Mr Drury also said he has noticed more changes recently to the housing market - with fewer homes let out as ‘houses in multiple occupation’.
He said: “I believe the situation has changed recently due to the increased education offered by the local authority on houses in multiple occupation and we as an agency have noticed the reduction in private landlords asking us to rent properties by the room but instead to families which in turn has reduced the number of smaller units available at a lower rent.
“I believe that the positive outcome as a result of this is the increase in standards of rented accommodation and a better quality of living for tenants and their neighbours.”
The federation feels there is not enough investment in social housing in the area.
It says a shortage of affordable homes, rising house prices and stagnant wages are leaving many people struggling to cover rent and bills.
The National Housing Federation warns that unless the shortage of affordable homes is addressed, rents will continue to rise and more people will see more of their wages eaten up by the cost of renting.
Kate Warburton, external affairs manager for the East Midlands at the National Housing Federation, said: “Private renters today are getting a raw deal and are paying the price for a housing crisis that’s been decades in the making.
“Unless we build the affordable homes we desperately need, ordinary working families and young people will continue to struggle to pay their rent, and will have less and less money left to cover basic bills like food and heating. We need a long term plan from politicians to put this right. We’re calling on all political parties to commit to end the housing crisis within a generation.”