A SWINDON campaigner has called for more affordable accommodation as house prices spiral and the younger generation expect more for less.

New government statistics show that Swindon prices have jumped by two-thirds since 2003. Last year, for the first time on record, the median house price passed £200,000, the Office for National Statistics figures reveal.

In 2017, the median price was £211,500 – seven times people’s average earnings in the town.

Government statisticians calculate the figures by ranking the houses sold in the town from most expensive to cheapest and noting the price of house in the middle of the pile.

Housing campaigner Martin Wicks called for more council housing. He said: “It’s bad news for people living in Swindon that the ratio of house prices to earnings is continuing to rise, pricing even more people out of home ownership.

“The council seems to welcome rising house prices but they make the housing crisis worse.

“It’s fine and dandy for somebody living in Reading who might like to move because house prices are lower here, though they may well commute out of the town for work.

“But what about local people who have no chance of buying a property?

“Young people especially, many of whom have low paid and precarious jobs, cannot even afford the rent for a flat. More and more of them have to live in HMOs.”

Swindon young professionals were split over the debate.

Becca Willis, 24, of Old Town, said: “It’s near impossible if you’re buying alone.”

Town centre resident Luke Fry said: “For the vast amount of young people, the only way they are able to get onto the property ladder is with help from their parents, either in the form of a deposit or a low rent place to live.”

However, partner Molly Fry said: “Affordable housing that we actually wanted to live in was one of the big things that drew us to move to Swindon. I’m really glad we did, but it would be a shame if inflation stopped other people like us from doing the same.”

Andrew Allan, 28, a town centre resident, said: “I think the problem is people’s standards and expectations are rising faster than their salaries; the ‘avocado generation’ expecting more for less.

“If you are willing to put in a bit of effort or accept that you might have to start small there’s loads out there.”

A spokesman said Swindon Borough Council was delivering on a pledge to build more affordable homes. He said: “Almost 200 affordable homes are being bought or built by the local authority, while over the last five years more than 650 affordable properties have been built by private developers.

“Swindon also has a high take-up of residents who are taking advantage of the government’s Homebuy initiative which allows people to buy homes at discounted rates.

“The council will also continue to challenge developers to secure the maximum number of affordable homes in each qualifying development within the borough.”