Leaders: Edinburgh needs affordable homes

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THE latest statistical ­report on Edinburgh’s housing market will prompt very mixed reactions.

There will be some satisfaction and not a little relief among many householders to see that their biggest investment is growing in value, rather than heading in the opposite direction.

But even among those homeowners there will be an acute awareness of what growing house prices mean for a generation who are seeing the prospect of getting a foot on the Capital’s housing ladder moving ever further out of reach.

The fact that the average property now costs seven-and-a-half times the average salary in the city may be a crude yardstick, but it does highlight a growing issue.

The problem for most prospective buyers is not that they cannot afford to live in private property – with interest rates running so low, their mortgage payments might easily be cheaper than their monthly rent – but the difficulty in scraping together the size of ­deposit needed to buy a home in the first place.

With demand for housing in the Capital only rising, that problem is only likely to get worse for the so-called “generation rent”, who are being priced out of the property market.

So what is the answer? For many the answer might not be finding a way of buying a house, but choosing instead to stay in rented property. A new report from accountancy firm PwC suggests that within 15 years the ­majority of under-40s will not own their own home. That will only lead to increased pressure to drive up the standards across the rental sector as a whole.

For prospective home-buyers and renters there is of course an immediate and pressing need for more affordable homes.

Deciding where these will go ­remains a thorny subject in the Capital, but it is one that the city will have to tackle very soon.