More and more babies are being born to mothers in Rotherham! I believe this increase will continue to add pressure to the already overstretched property market.

On the back of eight years of ever increasing birth rates, a significant 4.94 babies were born for every new home that was built in the Rotherham council area in 2016.

I believe this has and will continue to exacerbate the Rotherham housing shortage, meaning demand for housing (both to buy and to rent), has remained high. The high birth rate has meant Rotherham rents and Rotherham property prices have remained resilient – even with the challenges the economy has felt over the last eight years, and they will continue to remain high in the years to come.

High birth rate levels

The ratio of births to new homes has reached one its highest levels since 1945 (back in the early 1970s the average was only one and a half births for every household built).

Avg-births-per1000Looking at the local birth rates, the latest figures show we in the Rotherham council area had an average of 64.6 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. Interestingly, the national average is 61.7 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 and for the Yorkshire & Humber region its 61.9 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. Rotherham is well above the national average. (Source: Office of National Statistics)

Looking more closely, the number of births from Rotherham women between the ages of 20 to 29 are significantly higher than the national average, but those between 35 and 44 were much lower.

However, the overall birth rate is still increasing, and when that fact is combined with the ever-increasing life expectancy in the Rotherham area, the high levels of net migration into the area over the last 14 years and the growth in single person households, this can only mean one thing…

Bramley Wickersley Rotherham-031-2There’s a huge need for more housing in Rotherham.

An interesting trend is that more and more people are choosing to have children whilst they are tenants because they feel safe in rented accommodation. Renting is becoming a viable and practical choice for Rotherham people.

The planners and politicians in our local authority, central government and people as a whole need to recognise that with individuals living longer, people having more children and relatively high level of divorce rates, demand for property is simply outstripping supply.

The simple fact is more Rotherham properties need to be builtBramley Wickersley Rotherham-008

Rotherham needs more properties available to buy and more properties available to rent.

Only 1.1% of the country is built on by houses. Now I am not suggesting we build tower blocks in the middle of the Peak District, but the obsession of not building on any greenbelt land should be carefully re-considered.

Yes, we need to build on brownfield sites first, but there aren’t hundreds of acres of brownfield sites in Rotherham. In what brownfield sites there are, building on them can only work with complementary public investment. Many such sites are contaminated and aren’t financially viable to develop, so unless the Government put their hand in their pocket, they will never be built on.

This shouldn’t be a crude attack on our green spaces – we need a new approach to enable some parts of the countryside to be regarded more positively by local authorities, politicians and communities and allow considered and empathetic development. Society in the UK needs to consider the greenbelts outside their leisure and visual appeal, and assess how they can help to shape the way we live in the most even-handed way.

This is a difficult time and at the moment no one is proposing a sustainable way forward.

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