RENTAL prices have rocketed 20 per cent in the past year across Basildon – pricing locals out of the market.
Tenants are paying an average £133 more a month, or £1,596 extra a year, for private accommodation, according to Balgores estate agents.
The 19.3 per cent spike goes against the national trend, which has seen rental inflation slowing, because the Government has launched schemes to give people with low deposits a chance to get on the housing ladder.
The negative impact of the booming housing market, which has seen Basildon house prices rocket, has been blamed.
Dave Murray, who organises Basildon Against Bedroom Tax, said it was a “chronic crisis”.
He said: “This has been a crisis for the past ten or 15 years and it’s getting worse.
“Every year we are told it’s great that property prices are going up.
That’s fantastic if you own one or two, but not if you haven’t one at all.”
Mr Murray said more lower income families had to rent privately because there was a shortage of council houses.
He added: “The number of council houses being built is pathetic.
“Not so long ago in Basildon there was a supply of public housing, so there wasn’t a shortage.
“People want to put a roof over their heads and will pay as much as they can afford.
“I sympathise with people paying a mortgage for a buy-to-let landlord.
“It’s about supply and demand.
Housing is not being built for ordinary people.”
Last week the Echo revealed Basildon had been named the number one commuter town for the whole of the south east.
With the number of London workers looking for property in the town pushing up prices, they too have been blamed for the increase.
Howard Lester, director of Balgores Property Group, said another issue was more people buying property to let as a form of pension.
He added: “Weak income growth, which has an impact on households’ ability to borrow and a lack of housing supply, means the private rental sector is continuing to see strong demand from new tenants.
“Many people will rent property until they can afford to buy a house.”
‘I pay £750 monthly for the cheapest home I could find’
A MUM of five said she will never afford her own house as she is stuck paying hundreds of pounds in rent.
Kaily Barnard, 38, of Bockingham Green, pays £750 a month for a three-bedroom house on the Felmores estate.
It leaves her with virtually nothing to cover bills.
She said: “I pay £750 a month for a wooden house from the Seventies and that is the cheapest I could find.
“I have no life and no extra money. Not only am I choosing between heating and eating, I’m choosing between milk and bread.
“I chose to live here, but I have to take cash from my income support and child tax credits to pay for the roof over my children's heads.”
Kaily, who moved from Yorkshire to Basildon two years ago for family reasons, said she pays so much she can’t save for a deposit for a house, even though mortgage repayments would be lower than the rent she pays.
She added: “I would love to buy a house, but there’s no scope for saving.
“Times have changed as well. Twenty years ago you could buy a mid-terrace, two-bedroom house in the north for £20,000, but you couldn’t buy a garage in a back garden for that down here.
“I feel like I am treading water at the moment.
“You get to a stage where you just bury your head in the sand and get in a mess with money. I am just trying to keep my head above water.”