A MAN who lived in a garage for years and is now on Basildon Council’s housing committee says rising prices are making things harder for people to get on the housing ladder.

House prices in Basildon have shot up higher than the average for the region, latest figures show.

The average house price in July was £306,570, Land Registry figures show – a 1.7 per cent increase on June.

Over the month, the picture was better than that across the East of England, where prices increased by just 0.1 per cent – Basildon also comfortably outperformed the 0.5 per cent rise for the UK.

Over the last year, the average sale price of property in Basildon remained level – putting the area 38th among the East of England’s 47 local authorities for annual growth.

Andrew Gordon, vice chairman of Basildon Council’s housing committee, said rising prices is a problem for residents trying to get on the property ladder.

He said: “If you were to talk to any resident in the town, they would tell you the same thing; so many homes in Basildon are just too expensive.

“You’ve got some residents who have lived here all their life and are struggling to get on the ladder. It also pushes rent prices up.

“That’s why we have Sempra Homes within the council fighting to get as many people into their own homes as possible.

“It’s not going to solve anything overnight, but the situation is really difficult. I should know; I lived in a garage for a few years when I couldn’t afford my own home.”

First-time buyers in Basildon spent an average of £261,000 on their property – £4,800 less than a year ago, but £73,400 more than in July 2014.

Claire Fairhead, 36, who rents a flat with her husband and three-year-old son in Basildon, said: “We’ve been trying for years to buy a slightly bigger home for our family, where we live now is comfortable enough but isn’t really that big.

“But every property is just out of reach price wise, and they go so quickly, it seems almost impossible to get a foot-in anywhere, which has to change.”