14% of private tenants spend majority of income on rent, research shows

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One in seven private sector tenants in England is spending more than half their total income on rent, analysis from the Local Government Association (LGA) has found.

Some 14% of private renters are seeing more than half their total income swallowed up by rent, according to the association, which said this restricts people's ability to save for a deposit to buy their own home.

Ahead of its annual conference this week, the LGA is calling for the building of a new wave of rented homes "that reflect what families can actually afford - no more than a third of total household incomes".

The LGA's research found 43% of private renters in England spend more than 30% of their income on rent.

It said councils should be given powers and access to funding "to resume their historic role as a major builder of affordable homes".

The LGA said this means being able to borrow to invest in housing and to keep 100% of the receipts from any homes they sell to replace them.

Its analysis was based on the Labour Force Survey, the Valuations Office Agency Private Rental Market statistics and the English Housing Survey,

Recent research by Halifax found that across the UK, first-time buyers typically need to save a deposit of £32,899, rising to £106,577 in London.  

Judith Blake, LGA housing spokeswoman, said: "When one in seven private renters are spending half their income on rent, it's no wonder we have a rental logjam - with a shortage of homes with genuinely affordable rent, and young people struggling to have enough income left over to save for a deposit.

"A thriving private rented sector helps create a balanced mix of available housing."

She said a new wave of rental homes costing 30% of household income or less "would provide tenants with stability, reduce the squeeze on household incomes and help more people get on the housing ladder".

A Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) spokesman said: "This Government is determined to make housing more affordable and we're investing £7.1 billion to build more affordable homes."

"We've already helped more than 400,000 households into home ownership through government-backed schemes since 2010, and the number of first-time buyers is at a nine-year annual high.

"Our Housing White paper sets out further measures to build more homes, including our £3 billion Home Building Fund which will provide development finance for homes to rent and buy."