District has most expensive house prices across whole of West Sussex

JPCT 050412 New Saxon Weald housing scheme in New road, Horsham. Photo by Derek Martin

JPCT 050412 New Saxon Weald housing scheme in New road, Horsham. Photo by Derek Martin

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Median house prices in Horsham district are the highest in West Sussex - according to a county council report released this month.

West Sussex Life, a new publication of data up to 2011, shows the median house price in the district was £275,000, far higher than the West Sussex average of £215,000, and the South East average of £228,000.

In terms of affordability, which is measured on the ratio of lower quartile earnings, those in the bottom quarter of salaries, to house prices in the district, Horsham is the joint second-least affordable area tied with Mid Sussex.

Actual housing completions in Horsham as a percentage of those in West Sussex have fallen dramatically from 25 per cent in 2001 to less than ten per cent in 2011.

Completions in the district have averaged at 393 homes per year since 2000/01, but just 160 homes completed in 2010/11.

HDC is currently reviewing its future housing policy and will be publishing its preferred strategy for consultation next month.

During September’s strategic planning advisory group meeting, officers briefed members on what affordable housing targets they would likely set, what current targets are now, and how they are being met.

Future need predicted by a consultant’s report came in at 224 units a year, with council figures predicting a need for the delivery of 240 a year. HDC’s current target is 80 a year, but it has delivered 200 over the past two years.

Meanwhile the number of people waiting to be housed has actually remained steady in Horsham, despite massive increases across the rest of West Sussex.

The number of households on the housing register waiting list in Horsham has gone up 3.7 per cent, from 1,154 in 2001 to 1197 in 2011, but the percentage of all households on the waiting list is the lowest in the county at just 2.1 per cent.

This compares to a 328.8 per cent increase in Arun district, and 127.8 per cent in Chichester district.

The report mentions that social housing completions from 2006-2011 are at a low of 14 per cent, compared to HDC’s current target for affordable housing on developments of 15 properties or more is 40 per cent.

Homelessness has spiked across West Sussex, with an increase from 390 in 2009/10 to 537 households in 2010/2011.

The figure was as low as 59 in Horsham in 2007/8, but has since risen to 125 in 2010/11, making it one of three authorities that exceeded the national average.