The last affordable place for property in the UK
The number of local authority areas where the average house price is less than three times the average annual salary has fallen from 72 to just one over the past 16 years, according to a new study.
Research by the TUC showed that Copeland in the Lake District was the last local authority area left in Britain where average house prices were less than three times the average annual salary. The union said its research showed there were no longer any areas in the South East, South West, London and the East of England where average house prices are less than five times the average wage.
The top five least affordable areas of the country are in London, with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea having average house prices more than 30 times the average local salary. Elmbridge in Surrey is the least affordable area outside London with an affordability ratio of 14.3.
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "London always comes out top when it comes to horror stories about ludicrously over-priced housing. But the toxic combination of rising property prices and falling real wages has meant that local housing affordability remains a huge problem for millions of people across the country.
"Houses and flats in traditionally affordable areas of the country - from Kirklees to Great Yarmouth and Plymouth to Oldham - are now out of reach for many local people. We need an ambitious programme of home-building to get house prices back under control.
"But housing affordability isn't just about house prices, decent wages are just as important and there is a lot of ground to make up before we return to the kind of salaries that people were earning before the crash."
What can be done?
Gill Payne, director of policy and external affairs at the National Housing Federation, commented: "This analysis shows how it's not just London that is feeling the crippling effects of the housing crisis, with costs spiralling well beyond the reach of local people.
"With so many now locked out of home ownership and struggling with rents, we need action to be taken to end the housing crisis within a generation to ensure the situation doesn't continue to worsen, leaving our children to deal with the consequences."
A Communities and Local Government spokesman said: "This Government is committed to delivering long-term economic stability and economic growth. The last administration oversaw a housing boom and bust, and we have been picking up the pieces."
"Relative to earnings, median house prices across England are around the same level they were in 2005."