THE North East is in a "housing crisis" according to a report which reveals almost 100,000 people are on social housing waiting lists.

The study ‘Home Truths: North East’ by the National Housing Federation (NHF) shows that 91,000 households were on the waiting list for social housing in 2011, but only 5,220 new homes have been built in the region over the last year.

North-East house prices have risen three times faster than earnings in the past decade and the high cost of renting privately means that one out of every 12 North East households is now stranded on a social housing waiting list.

Monica Burns, North-East lead manager for the NHF, said: “The lack of affordable housing is a tragedy for families across the North-East who are helplessly watching as the cost of renting or buying a home spirals out of reach.”

Ms Burns suggested that disused land owned by government departments could and should be used to build more affordable homes.

She said: “The North-East has the weakest economy in the country and action is needed now to help an entire generation who are struggling to find work.

“Building new homes and renovating existing ones is the quickest and most effective way to boost a local economy where we know construction is suffering.

“This would help solve the North-East’s housing crisis and create desperately needed jobs.”

The Home Truths report also found that North East local authorities accepted 1,800 households as homeless in 2011/12 which placed an extra burden on housing associations as they often provide emergency accommodation for people in immediate need.