PLANNING bosses have predicted up to 1,600 more homes will be needed by next year to address a council house shortage in South Ayrshire.

Council research has shown fifty eight per cent of residents are unable to afford a property in the open market and first time buyers can’t get a deposit together.

Other findings revealed South Ayrshire’s population is ageing and households are decreasing in size.

The council objectives include increasing supplies of affordable housing, upping the number of smaller homes and helping people get funding for repairs.

Council officers working with social landlords and members of the private sector came up with the predictions.

The findings have been presented in a report — dubbed the Housing Need and Demand Assessment — which has been approved by councilors.

Councillor Philip Saxton, housing and customer services portfolio holder said: “Planning housing for the future that meets the needs of the people of South Ayrshire, including vulnerable members of our communities such as older people and those with disabilities, is vital.

“We want to ensure that the type of housing available in the future reflects the way that people live today, with an increased number of people living on their own, more people living longer and disabled people wanting to be independent the style of housing is as important as the amount of housing available.

“We need a diverse range of homes to accommodate people of all ages, students, homeless people, those with disabilities, people relocating, travelling people and minority ethnic groups.” “It is important that people in South Ayrshire can find a suitable and affordable place to stay and to make that vision a reality we have to plan carefully for future housing.”