Rents set to soar, pricing workers out of Bath homes
Rents in the city could go up by almost 50 per cent in the next eight years, making it the most expensive place to live in the west.
According to a survey by the National Housing Federation, rents in the region are expected to increase by 48 per cent by 2020.
In Bath and north east Somerset this rise would increase average monthly rent payments by £409, the highest figure in the region, to £1,253.
The report, called Home Truths 2012, also predicted that house prices in the region were likely to go by 38.4 per cent by 2020.
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The National Housing Federation said the reason for the increase was a lack of housing supply.
Jenny Allen, South West lead manager for the federation, said: "Successive governments have failed to tackle the undersupply of housing and time is now running out. If we don't urgently fix the housing market we will have a generation who are priced out of renting a home, let alone buying one.
"Being unable to afford the homes they need stops people from moving for work. We also know that it prevents young couples starting families, so in effect it can stop aspiration dead in its tracks."
Victor da Cunha, chief executive of social housing provider Curo, said if young people could not rent or buy, that would have a profound effect on the city.
Mr da Cunha said: "This unsustainable rise is due to a woeful shortage in housing, with demand pushing up prices all the time.
"Economically, Bath cannot afford for tomorrow's generation to leave our city. We need a living, vibrant city and housing is central to that vision.
"At Curo we have the capacity to build nearly 1,200 new homes in the next four years. However, the lack of suitable sites that people are willing to see developed for existing and future generations is a major hurdle."
He added making small-scale brownfield sites in the city available could help.
Mr da Cunha said: "To truly meet the scale of demand across B&NES, overall supply needs to be increased. This needs to be supported by planning policy allowing a far higher number of new and affordable homes to be built."
Ian Bell, executive director at Bath Chamber of Commerce and the Initiative in B&NES, agreed, adding that for Bath's economy to thrive, workers must be able to live in the city.
Mr Bell said: "There is a feeling that the laws of supply and demand will work as much with rent as they will in any other sort of market.
"If we have more economic growth, we want more jobs and ideally we want to see those people filling those jobs living locally – in an ideal world people need to live where they work."