WEST Dorset is one of the least affordable places to rent property in the south west while more and more people are being priced out of buying a home, the National Housing Federation has revealed.

The 2015 Shelter housing report calculates single people in Dorset will need more than 17 years to save up a 20 per cent deposit to buy a home – the third longest in the south west.

Couples with one child will need 16.8 years to save their deposits – especially with top rents being charged.

Figures released by the federation show the area has been ranked in the top 20 when it comes to a high ratio of private sector rents to incomes. The research shows that 37.2 per cent of West Dorset residents’ wages are being swallowed up by private rents before any bills are paid.

Renters in West Dorset are struggling, with private rent for the year averaging out at £729 per month and thus £8,748 annually, taking up almost a third of their annual income.

Postman and comedian Tom Glover, 27, pictured below, has lived in Bridport all his life but moved to Axminster in May last year after struggling to find a suitable first home with his partner Lisa Bright, 28.

He said: “The town’s population is growing and Bridport is becoming an increasingly desirable place to live, especially after West Bay is appearing on TV more and more in Broadchurch. Younger people and those on lower incomes are being forced out of the town, people who have lived here all their lives, gone to school here, work here and have families here.

“Local people on an average wage simply cannot afford to buy a property in the town so face the options of never owning a home or moving to somewhere more affordable.”

Tom added that there was a shortage of two and three bedroom properties in Bridport with the same houses appearing on the market again and again.

He said the price of a two or three bedroom house in Axminster is at least £40,000 less than a similar property in Bridport.

Tom said: “I’d hate to see Bridport end up like other towns on the coast, full of retirees and second homes, where the streets are empty for 10 months of the year and only come alive in the summer. This would be terrible news for local people and business and would make the town a soulless place where nobody would want to live.”

The figures, revealed from a new report by the National Housing Federation entitled ‘Broken Market, Broken Dreams’, is an analysis of the housing market in the south west. The report says that the average house price in West Dorset in 2013 was £267,941 – 11 times more than the average annual wage in the area which sits at £23,488.

There were also 25.6 per cent of housing benefit claimants in the area in employment in May, 2014.

Regionally, the report states that the south west has been hit by a combination of high housing costs and low wages.

The report added: “With rural and coastal beauty spots commanding premium house prices and attracting second home owners, many areas have seen prices pushed out of reach for local people.”

To see the report visit housing.org.uk


Average house prices 2013
- West Dorset £267,941
- Weymouth and Portland £205,262
- East Dorset £295,819
- North Dorset £252,052

Average monthly private sector rents in 2013/2014
- West Dorset £729
- Weymouth and Portland £614
- East Dorset £858
- North Dorset £685

Annual earnings in 2013
- West Dorset £23,488
- Weymouth and Portland £21,512
- East Dorset £26,697
- North Dorset £20,758

Ratio of house prices to incomes – ranked by percentage
- West Dorset 11.4 per cent
- Weymouth and Portland 9.5 per cent
- East Dorset 11.1 per cent
- North Dorset 12.1 per cent


PEOPLE in rural areas are ‘less well off’ in terms of accessing services than their urban counterparts, said town, district and county councillor Ros Kayes.
She added: “I think it’s time the Government did something about that fact. It isn’t just about the distances involved, but also the fact that housing costs more, work is seasonal and the health service gets less money per patient in rural areas – so there’s a mixture of issues, all exacerbated by government underfunding to councils in the South West.”
Cllr Kayes, together with North Dorset parliamentary candidate Hugo Mieville, are campaigning for a Rural Bill of Rights which they plan to take to ministers.