HEREFORDSHIRE is one of the most difficult counties in which to get on to the property ladder according to a national study.

Homeless charity Shelter found that it takes the average UK family 12 years to save up for a home of their own but in Hereford that figure rises to 15.

The reason for this, Shelter says, is that the gap between income and house prices is greater here than elsewhere.

The south west region has been noted as the worst outside London, with Herefordshire one of the worst.

Rachel Patchett, aged 21, from Leominster, is distribution co-ordinator at Lafarge Tarmac. She hopes to buy a house with her partner within the next two years.

She said it is not only the expense of buying a home but also the lack of information for first-time buyers which is concerning.

“The government says it wants young people to get onto the property ladder as it’s deteriorating but they’re not helping in any way so it’s practically impossible to do so,” she said.

“Lower deposits for first time buyers, more affordable new houses, help with new houses, and maybe lower monthly payments for a longer period are needed.

“Free available advice for young first time buyers would be great too – it’s very complicated and we know very little.”

Her partner is currently serving in Afghanistan and Rachel said his main motivation was earn money to boost his savings and get them closer to buying a home.

Richard Gabb, assistant director of homes and community services at Herefordshire Council, said that the council is working “extremely proactively”

to support affordable housing.

This, he said, is being done both through strategic planning policies supporting housing growth up to 2031 and the work done in partnership with housing associations, developers and the homes and communities agency.

“This has included making councilowned land available for affordable housing development, bringing empty properties back into use and working with rural communities to support affordable housing delivery to meet local needs,” he added.

“It is estimated that affordable housing will comprise between 25 per cent and 40 per cent of new homes built in Herefordshire up to 2031.”