Fylde Coast Strategic Housing Market Assessment - Summary. April 2008

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1 Fylde Coast Strategic Housing Market Assessment - Summary April 2008

2 Why undertake a Strategic Housing Market Assessment? The Fylde Coast Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) has been undertaken to help the local authorities of Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre and English Partnerships to understand the dynamics and factors driving the subregional housing market. The SHMA also provides the evidence base to inform emerging Local Development Frameworks (which set out the spatial planning policies for individual authorities) and the Fylde Coast Housing Strategy. The SHMA has been undertaken in accordance with Government guidance using secondary data rather than relying on bespoke consultancy commissions. The process established will enable the local authorities to: Compare housing demand and supply trends across the sub-region on a consistent basis Update information on a regular basis Improve the robustness of data by ensuring better collection of key sources of data Identify issues which need to be investigated further What is involved in undertaking a Strategic Housing Market Assessment? The following flow chart identifies the key tasks in a Strategic Housing Market Assessment: Defining the Spatial Extent of the Housing Market Assessing Demand and Supply Analysing of House Prices and Incomes Assessing Housing Need Considering Future Provision of Housing Assessing Specific Groups and Rural Issues Drawing out Implications Making Recommendations Page 1

3 What is the extent of the Housing Market Area? A Housing Market Area is the area within which the majority of house moves and journeys to work occur. Government guidance sets out the key stages involved in defining a Housing Market Area as: Analysis of migration and travel to work patterns (at ward level) Review of house price trends Consultation with key stakeholders Housing markets do not follow administrative boundaries, however as local authorities are key to delivering functions that affect housing, it is important to consider how the Housing Market Area relates to local authority boundaries and draw out issues at this level as well as considering the natural functional market area. The Strategic Housing Market Assessment, therefore, provides data for the following geographies: but longer distance movements are also a feature of this area reflecting the area s attraction to people moving from further afield and longer distance commuting Each individual local authority - The information is presented for each local authority (Blackpool Council; Fylde Borough Council and Wyre Borough Council) in order that each can assess and respond to its particular issues. However, as there are strong functional relationships across the local authority areas, the importance of understanding and responding to issues collectively should not be underestimated Data is also presented for the North West and for England to provide benchmark figures and context Fylde Coast SHMA Area Fylde Coast Core Housing Market Area - This area (shown in red on the plan below) accounts for 90% of the population living within the three local authorities and 91% of dwellings and there are very strong relationships in terms of migration and travel to work patterns within this core area Fylde Coast Strategic Housing Market Area (Fylde Coast) - This is the combined area of the three authorities (shown in red and pink on the plan below). The parts of the SHMA that lie outside of the Core Market Area (i.e. the peripheral area coloured pink) do not show particularly strong links to either the Core Market Area or to surrounding areas (Lancaster, Cumbria, Preston, Chorley and South Ribble and East Lancashire). This area is more rural in character than the Core Market Area and the strongest links in terms of migration and travel to work tend to be internal (within the individual settlements and the immediate area), Page 2

4 Within the Fylde Coast there are three broad basic geographies: Urban - although not as urban as many parts of the North West, the core area is urban in nature Rural - attractive countryside and associated accommodation in small and medium sized settlements Coastal - analysis of house prices shows that there is a premium in terms of house prices around the coast although it is acknowledged that the coastal offer differs significantly What type of housing is available across the Fylde Coast? The key features of the Core Market Area s housing offer are as follows: The tenure pattern is quite different to the regional average. Over three quarters of all households in the Core Market Area are owner occupied (above the regional average), the proportion of social housing is less than half the regional average whilst the proportion of private rented stock is well above the regional average - influenced by very high levels in Blackpool and parts of Fylde There are fewer detached properties and more flats/maisonettes than on average in the region, and the pattern of house types is skewed at the local level. Only 8% of the stock in Blackpool is detached compared to 18% in the region whilst the proportion of detached stock in Fylde and Wyre is 10% above the regional average Second homes are a particular issue in parts of Wyre and Fylde where Council Tax records show that they account for 2% and 0.8% of all stock (approximately 960 dwellings) compared to only 0.4% recorded by the Census in the North West. This places pressure on housing supply and affordability, especially in some attractive parts of the Fylde Coast Caravans and other temporary mobile structures are a particular feature of the dwelling stock in Fylde (1.7%) and Wyre (1.5%) - well above the regional average of 0.3% Higher value housing is focused in Fylde and Wyre - the more affluent Council Tax Bands (Bands D-I) account for only 15% of stock in Blackpool compared to 42% in Fylde and 31% in Wyre and 21% across the North West Accommodation specifically aimed at retired people is clustered around Poulton, Lytham, St Anne s, and the eastern outskirts of Blackpool. The vast majority of this accommodation is rented (70%) There is a strong correlation between household composition and the tenure the household occupies. Families tend to live in owner occupied property and single people (especially below retirement age) are the most likely to live in private rented property. The types of household living in social rented property is more evenly balanced The average number of people per household in the Core Market Area (2.21) is below the regional average (2.35), with very small (one person households) particularly prevalent in Blackpool On average 767 new dwellings have been developed per annum across the Fylde Coast. A significant pipeline supply of almost 3,900 new dwellings exists across the area (in the form of planning permissions not yet completed), this equates to a five years supply, at current development rates. The rate that new housing is added to the existing supply is controlled by housing policy at the regional and local level. The current housing requirements (set by Lancashire Joint Structure Plan) are due to be replaced by new requirements in the North West Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS). Page 3

5 The RSS will increase overall requirement for Fylde coast from 595 to 956 per annum. Fylde and (especially) Wyre have been delivering new housing in excess of the current policy requirements but Blackpool and Fylde will have to significantly increase their current completion rates to meet the new targets. Housing Supply Blackpool Fylde Wyre Fylde Coast SHMA Supply Average annual completions (average over 2003/4-2006/7) Housing Pipeline 935 1,568 1,376 3,879 No. years supply provided by pipeline supply at current completion rate Requirement JSP JSP Draft RSS How does the economy affect the housing market? The inter-relationship between housing and economic performance is now widely acknowledged. A buoyant economy is dependent upon being able to access workers who are attracted to areas with a quality housing supply supported by appropriate services. Weaknesses in an economy are reflected in the housing market in various ways such as through low levels of owner occupation and high levels of renting, high levels of turnover and vacancy and low value and or poorly maintained stock. Socio-economic factors are taken into account by potential investors and housebuilders in making decision to invest in a particular area. Thus the strength of the economy impacts on local housing markets in terms of the amount and type of housing being developed as well as affecting the quality of the existing stock - as people with higher disposable incomes have greater ability to maintain and improve their homes. Blackpool is the economic driver of the Fylde Coast, accounting for approximately half of all the jobs across the three authorities. There are concentrations of employment in central Blackpool, St Anne s, Poulton, Garstang and Fleetwood, the industrial areas around the M55 and in more rural areas (i.e. associated with BAe). Since 1998 there has been a general trend of employment growth in the region and Wyre but a reduction in Blackpool and Fylde. Public sector and lower value occupations dominate the employment profile of the Fylde Coast. Within the Core Market Area, public administration, education and health account for 32% of all employment, followed by distribution, hotels and restaurants and manufacturing. Blackpool and Wyre are under-represented in the banking, finance and insurance sectors - one of the highest paid sectors which are targeted by economic development agencies because of the value they bring to local economies. Tourism continues to dominate the Blackpool economy (19% of total employment) and thus that of the Core Market Area. Manufacturing remains a sectoral strength in Fylde as does agriculture and fisheries in Wyre. These sectors are amongst the lowest paid and in the case of the latter two are generally declining in size in this country. Employment by Sector Core Market Area Blackpool Fylde Wyre Fylde Coast SHMA North West Manufacturing 14.6% 7.4% 29.3% 12.1% 15.1% 12.9% Construction 4.8% 3.4% 4.9% 8.1% 5.1% 4.9% Distribution, hotels & restaurants 28.2% 32.8% 22.2% 26.3% 28.0% 25.2% Transport & communications 2.8% 3.2% 1.9% 3.6% 2.9% 5.8% Banking, finance & insurance 12.6% 10.4% 16.9% 11.1% 12.5% 18.0% Public admin, education & health 32.1% 37.1% 20.8% 34.2% 31.5% 28.5% Other services 4.9% 5.7% 4.0% 4.7% 4.9% 4.7% Source: ABI, 2005 Page 4

6 High rates of economic inactivity in Blackpool have had a major negative impact on the economic performance of the Fylde Coast. There is a strong correlation between housing tenure and economic activity. Those who are economically inactive tend to live in the social sector - around 60% of residents in the social sector in the Fylde Coast are economically inactive, almost double the proportion in the owner occupied sector (35%). Almost 45% of those who are economically inactive rent privately. Unemployment rates in the private/rented free sector are four times higher than owner occupied sector (10% of private rented sector households in Blackpool are unemployed compared to 7% in Wyre and only 4% in Fylde). Given the concentration of the private rented sector in the inner neighbourhoods of Blackpool, this means that the most vulnerable in society are concentrated in relatively small geographical areas. Almost half of those employed in Fylde work in the top three occupation categories compared to only a third in Blackpool. Not surprisingly given the reliance on tourism and lower skilled occupations, Blackpool residents have the lowest average earnings of the three authorities (at 18,500 compared to 24,500 in Fylde and 22,600 in Wyre and 22,300 in the North West). There is a marked difference between the income of people living in Wyre and those working in Wyre - the average income of those working in Wyre is 17% below the income of residents. This reflects low wage jobs available locally (i.e. in agricultural sector) and people commuting from attractive settlements to higher paid jobs elsewhere. Employment projections indicate growth in Wyre at a faster rate than the North West and a continuing pattern of decline in Blackpool and Fylde. However, such projections reflect past trends and do not necessarily provide a realistic picture of what is likely to happen in the future. There are significant proposals in hand to transform Blackpool through the Growth Point Bid and the Blackpool s Intervention Strategy and thus if successful these should support better prospects for Blackpool s economy in the future and thus the Fylde Coast. The strength of the brand of Blackpool is a major influence on the Fylde Coast. The successful transformation of Blackpool has the potential to be a major economic driver for the whole of the area. However, at present the imbalance in stock particularly within the inner neighbourhoods of Blackpool has a major negative impact on perceptions and the reality of the housing offer across the whole of the Fylde Coast. How does the population and household structure affect the housing market? Demand for new housing is driven by migration and household growth (as a result of population growth and existing households splitting due to divorce, children leaving home and people living alone for longer before they start a family). The type of property demanded is a product of the characteristics of the population (i.e. household composition, occupation, income, age) as well as aspirations. The population of the Fylde Coast has increased over recent years and the pattern of population decline in Blackpool has begun to show signs of reversing. Population projections forecast continued growth in population over the next 20 years. The rate of household growth in the Fylde Coast is expected to increase from 6% between to 14% over the next 20 years. Future household projections suggest that between 2006 and 2026, an additional 2,000 households a year (40,000 households in total) will form across the Fylde Coast, three quarters of which are projected to be singe person households. Page 5

7 Household Projections indexed at 2004 Index 100= The size of the older population has major implications for housing. Older people are more likely to be owner occupiers than other age groups and they are also less likely to move house - therefore large properties become under occupied, churn in the market place is reduced and pressure on housing supply and affordability is compounded. There is also a risk that the condition of the housing stock suffers as older residents cannot afford to, or are not able to maintain their property. As the population ages demand for adaptations to homes and specialist housing will increase and as there is a strong correlation between age and illhealth, the demand for support services will also increase Population Change by Age Structure, % % Blackpool UA Fylde Wyre Fylde Coast SHMA North West 30% Source: DCLG Sub-Regional Household Projections, table F (2004 based) March % The Fylde Coast has an old and ageing population and the growth of the elderly population has a major impact on housing market trends. The proportion of people aged over 65 years in each of the Fylde Coast authorities is above the regional average of 16% (Blackpool at 19%) and both Fylde and Wyre at 23%. Percentage Change 10% 0% -10% -20% There are 70,400 people of retirement age in the Fylde Coast and this is forecast to double over the next 20 years. The ratio of retirement age to working age population therefore increases. This shift in population profile is due to the overall trend of an ageing society, as life expectancy increases and birth rates decrease, but in Fylde Coast the trend is exaggerated by an older than average existing population and the attraction of the area to retirees. -30% -40% Blackpool Fylde Wyre Fylde Coast SHMA NW Page 6

8 Migration is another major driver of housing demand. All the Fylde Coast authorities experienced a net inflow of migration at the time of the last Census. Residents living in the Core Market Area tended to move within the core area, whereas the more rural parts of Fylde and Wyre attracted people from a wider area. Blackpool has the highest internal churn with the lowest percentage of household living in the same address as one year ago, indicating the transient nature of communities in Blackpool. The largest inflow into Blackpool was of one person households (under retirement age), whereas in Fylde and Wyre the largest inflow was in families. Fylde and Wyre also experienced a significant net inflow of pensioners compared to a net loss in Blackpool. Percentage of Pensioner Households 2001 National statistics in respect of immigration are limited but show that Blackpool experienced the greatest in-flow of all the Fylde Coast authorities. In 2006/7 approximately 1,400 non UK nationals registered (for a National Insurance Number) in Blackpool, more than four times the number of Fylde or Wyre - the vast majority of migrants being from Poland. Migrants are generally acknowledged as important to the local economy (particularly in the tourism but also the agricultural sector). However, they also exert pressure of housing and other support services. The private rented sector plays a significant role in accommodating migrants in the Fylde Coast. The ready supply of relatively cheap accommodation available on flexible terms in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) and in the wider private rented sector, particularly in Blackpool, is attractive to migrant workers. The total number of Black or Minority Ethnic (BME) within the Fylde Coast is relatively small compared to the regional average and unlike other parts of Lancashire, there are no significant geographical concentrations. BME groups are less likely to be owner occupiers than the white population and are over represented in the private rented sector What role does the private rented sector play? The private rented sector plays a major role in meeting housing need across the area, particularly in view of the relatively small supply of social housing. In Blackpool the private rented sector accommodates 63% of all housing benefit claimants. This highlights the importance of the sector in providing low cost housing across the Fylde Coast but particularly in Blackpool. However, the size and poor quality of the private rented sector is having a detrimental impact on Blackpool housing market and the wider Fylde Coast. The private rented sector accounts for 18% of all housing in Blackpool (double the regional average). Action to tackle the problems associated with private rented stock in the central area of Blackpool will have a positive impact on the health of the housing market across the whole area. Page 7

9 The problem is not low demand, as with some other northern towns, but the decline in the viability of guest houses. Instead of reverting to family homes, they have been bought up by private landlords and converted into HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) for rent. As noted above, a high proportion of the stock of private rented sector is rented to tenants on housing benefit and as such are lucrative enterprises - a minimal level of investment almost guarantees a return. Such properties command relatively high values on the open market and thus are likely to be expensive to acquire by the public purse as part of a strategy to rebalance the supply of housing in the inner neighbourhoods. Overall Average House Price, 2006 Although clearly fulfilling an important role in terms of providing affordable housing (especially given the overall supply of social housing across the subregion) the poor quality of the stock, particularly HMO stock, means that the sector has a detrimental impact on the perceived housing offer in Blackpool and in the Core Market Area generally. Given its geographical focus in the inner neighbourhoods this also has a major detrimental impact on the economy of the town and its hinterland, which in turn impacts on the performance of the Fylde Coast given Blackpool s important economic role. How affordable is housing? Affordability is a major concern in all parts of the country and the Fylde Coast is no exception. The pressure facing residents varies across the Fylde Coast, but all three authorities are less affordable than the North West as a whole. The figure below shows that the highest average prices are experienced in the eastern edge of the core market area and at the eastern parts of the Fylde Coast. However, in general over the last five years, the most significant percentage increases in average price have been experienced in the lower value areas in central Blackpool and Wyre peninsular. Sharp house price rises between 2002 and 2004 in particular, followed by steady rises thereafter underpin current affordability pressures. As with the country as a whole, wage increases have failed to keep pace with house price inflation, so despite a more stable market in 2006 and the first half of 2007, affordability is now a significant issue across much of the Fylde Coast, most particularly those areas outside of the Blackpool and Fleetwood conurbation. Analysis of affordability (where house prices are more than four times income levels) suggests that about half of all households will struggle to be able to afford to own their own home within the area that they live. The situation is most acute for first time buyers, for whom two thirds of the Fylde Coast would not be affordable. Page 8

10 Change in Overall House Price, (Q2) Affordability Analysis, All Buyers 250, ,000 House Price 150, ,000 50, Q Q Core Market Area Blackpool Fylde Wyre NW Source: HM Land Registry Overall it is clear that the most affordable areas are centred on Blackpool s inner neighbourhoods and Fleetwood. Affordability analysis indicates that the least affordable areas in the Fylde Coast are around Poulton-le-Fylde, Lytham, St Anne s, eastern and rural parts of Wyre (including Garstang), between Inskip and Clifton, Fylde. Prices in the affordability hotspots in part reflect their relationship with external markets - that is retirement, second homes and commuters to higher paid jobs in the wider area (i.e. Preston City Region). In Blackpool affordability is driven by low incomes. Economic growth would deliver higher rates of employment and better paid jobs enabling residents to access better quality housing and reduce the reliance on the poor quality private rented sector. Notwithstanding the current uncertainty over housing markets nationally and the consensus amongst commentators that prices are likely to fall over the next 12 months, such a reduction, were it to happen, would most likely play out over a number of years and therefore affordability is likely to remain an issue in the short term. The attractiveness of rural settlements draws high income households from the wider area which puts increased pressure on house prices, often making it difficult for local people (especially first time buyers) to afford property. Page 9

11 Income levels in the rural areas are on average higher than in the urban parts of the Fylde Coast. However the incomes of people who earn their wages in the local areas such as employees in the agricultural sector are not. Therefore the main affordability hotspots are in rural parts of Fylde and Wyre. Thus the challenge is to support people working locally to meet their housing requirements locally. The assessment of housing need (those who cannot afford to buy or rent in the market) found that all three authorities need to increase the delivery of social rented housing to address affordability. The greatest need is in Fylde and closely followed by Wyre. All authorities currently have a gap between the level of need for social rented housing (demonstrated by the scale of the existing backlog on waiting lists) and new supply. This gap in provision is likely to continue as the level of new need arising over the next five years in Fylde and Wyre is in excess of the futures housing targets. What are the implications? The key implications of these findings for the overall housing offer are summarised below: The overall housing offer in Blackpool, and therefore the Core Market Area, is skewed towards low value properties, with very limited choice in terms of aspirational family housing in particular. The need to rebalance the market is clearly evidenced in terms of improving the quality of the stock and providing an appropriate range of house types and tenure. The lack of choice in parts of Blackpool puts more pressure on those homes in more attractive parts of the housing market. Therefore, tackling Blackpool s worst housing should increase the supply of homes that people want to live in and therefore help alleviate affordability pressures The low proportion of social housing across the sub-region combined with the large supply of privately rented accommodation means that those in need and those on benefits often find themselves accommodated in poor quality private rented accommodation. Providing an attractive housing offer is crucial to support economic growth by attracting and retaining skilled workers. The impact of the oversupply of poor quality private rented housing on the performance of the economy should not be underestimated The Fylde Coast has an ageing population and a higher proportion of older households than the norm. Unless there is greater provision of attractive affordable housing for the elderly, households are likely to stay in their present home rather than downsizing. This places pressure on the wider housing market as larger properties are not released into the market and also increases the need for adaptations to make homes suitable for elderly residents Significant rates of household growth are forecast and this will require completion rates of new hosuing to be increased across the Fylde Coast. Careful planning is required to distribute new housing development in appropriate sustainable locations, balancing the need for economic growth and regeneration of core areas Despite the growth in household numbers being driven by an increase in single person households, it is important to be careful not to provide too much new small housing. There is a need to recognise people s aspirations for a larger property and the importance of family housing (with associated facilities such as good schools) to support economic growth The attractiveness of the rural areas of the Fylde Coast means that the retirement market and commuters are willing to pay a premium for their homes, resulting in affordability hotspots for local residents. Decisions about the future scale of development in rural areas, particularly in the light of revisions to the Regional Spatial Strategy, need to be carefully balanced in terms of ensuring an appropriate supply of affordable housing for local needs and supporting the sustainability of existing settlements Page 10

12 What are the recommendations to respond to the findings of the Strategic Housing Market Assessment? Recommendation 1 Recommendation 2 Recommendation 3 Recommendation 4 Recommendation 5 Recommendation 6 Recommendation 7 Recommendation 8 Recommendation 9 Recommendation 10 Recommendation 11 Plan, monitor and manage the housing market across the whole of the Fylde Coast Build upon the Strategic Housing Market Assessment to improve housing monitoring systems Develop a better understanding of the migrant market Commit appropriate resources to deliver the recommendations of the SHMA Develop complementary affordable housing policies for the Fylde Coast to provide common thresholds approaches for determining on and offsite provision and the type and size of product sought Determine a complementary approach to Intermediate Affordable Housing to ensure the products available suit the needs of the local market and are understood and clearly communicated to developers and prospective purchasers Agree an approach to responding to the ageing population including making better use of existing stock through adaptations, delivering more specialist accommodation to meet growing need, increasing awareness of housing options for the elderly and ensuring the delivery of appropriate health and social services Determine housing policy and site allocations in rural areas (Fylde and Wyre) to ensure mixed and balanced communities with an appropriate level of services and prevent settlements becoming dominated by older or wealthier migrants Adopt proactive strategies to intervene in the housing market to support the economy and overcome imbalances in the type and tenure of housing. For example, ensuring a supply of attractive family housing to attract and retain skilled workers who are key to supporting economic growth and tackling the threats to the regeneration of Blackpool town centre posed by concentrations of poor quality housing and conversion of guesthouses to HMOs Address the concentration of poor quality, private rented sector houses in Blackpool. There are three key strands to intervention: limiting new supply arising from conversion of holiday accommodation; reducing the existing supply especially where overconcentration threatens the sustainability of communities; and improving the quality of premises and the management of premises Develop of new ways of working with private sector partners to ensure delivery of a more balanced housing market. A partnership approach is particularly important to deliver housing in areas that are low value or complex to develop (such as central Blackpool) Page 11

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