A LEADING housing charity is calling for more affordable homes in the borough to tackle a shortage which has hit crisis point.

Research based on government statistics shows wage increases have been slowing down since 1997 when compared to house price rises, leaving a gap of £14,600 in the Dudley borough, which Shelter says could put buying a house beyond many people.

Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive, said: “Politicians need to start meeting people halfway by committing to bold solutions that will get more affordable homes built.

"Otherwise future generations will find themselves priced out of a stable home, however hard they work or save."

The charity argues that in the late 1990s the average house cost five times the average salary, but by 2012 this difference had doubled to ten times the average salary, which leaves thousands of people with no choice but to live in unstable private rented homes, or to continue living with their parents well into adulthood.

Mr Robb added: “Successive governments have failed to build the affordable homes that this country needs, and as a result our housing shortage has reached crisis point.”

The region’s politicians have responded by blaming each other for a lack of housing.

Dudley South Tory MP Chris Kelly said under the last Labour government waiting lists for social housing almost doubled while stocks of suitable rental properties fell.

Mr Kelly added: “I know there will be many hard-working families here in Dudley and the Black Country who aspire to own their own home, but are struggling to get on the housing ladder.

“This is why the Government has taken action to help increase the supply of new housing, while also helping people with schemes like Help to Buy.”

Labour, however, says the Help to Buy scheme pushes up demand and prices without increasing supply.

Natasha Millward, Labour’s candidate for Dudley South, says the only solution is to build more homes to bring housing supply into line with demand.

She added: "The Tories' policies are making matters worse. Their Help to Buy Scheme pumps up demand, but does nothing to increase housing supply. As a result house prices rocket sky high, and people get shunted into the private rental sector. In turn, increased demand for rented homes, triggers higher rents.

"It’s unsustainable. This housing crisis is hurting.

"People living in Dudley need a pay increase of £14,600 to put local wages back into line with house prices.

"What hope for first time buyers?"