A HOUSING crisis is fast looming in the South West, a group of chief executives from the region's largest housing associations have warned.

Homes for the South West, an alliance of 12 associations that collectively possess more than 250,000 properties, has urged the next Government to respond to the shortage with immediate action, spearheading investment and the construction of new homes across the region.

Louise Swain, chair of Homes for the South West, said: "The housing crisis in the South West is fast approaching breaking point.

"Too few homes are being built and we are now one of the least affordable regions in England, behind only London, the East of England, and the South East."

According to the group's manifesto, "Building the Affordable Homes the South West Needs", a clear pipeline of projects over the next five to 10 years from the Government could stimulate the investment needed.

This would offer assurance to stakeholders within the built environment, empowering them to invest in technology and train a skilled workforce needed for new housing constructions.

The manifesto, which is informed by a comprehensive study from the University of the West of England, highlights the unique challenges facing the region.

The South West currently has a shortage of 200,000 homes, and over the past 25 years, house prices have skyrocketed by 400 per cent, contrasting with the 83 per cent increase in median earnings.

The substantial number of second homes in the region further compounds local affordability issues.

Ms Swain added: "Our manifesto calls for an urgent injection of investment and confidence in our region.

"It also sets out a range of practical steps that could be taken to drive the delivery of new homes so urgently needed by people in the South West."

The manifesto also proposes several key recommendations such as the reformation of planning rules to streamline the construction of new homes, enforcing developers to make justifiable contributions to affordable housing, and addressing historical underinvestment in the region.

She added: "This is not just a call for change – but also a commitment from Homes for the South West members to work collaboratively with the Government and local communities to address the challenges facing our region."