Homes 'earn' more than their owners

Homes 'earn' more than their owners

Homes have "earned" more money than their owners in almost one fifth of areas across the UK as the housing market recovery has taken off, research has found.

Over the last two years, average house prices have increased by more than the amounts that employees have typically earned after tax in 73 out of 384 local authority districts across the UK, according to the research by Halifax.

Eight out of the top 10 places where house price increases have raced ahead of earnings in the last two years were in London, where the market now appears to be catching its breath after prices there surged when the recovery initially took hold, while the remaining two places were in the South East.

The biggest difference was found in Hammersmith and Fulham, where house price increases have outstripped typical take-home earnings over the last two years by more than £143,000.

The average house in Hammersmith and Fulham has piled nearly £200,000 on to its value in two years, while someone living in the area would have earned just under £57,000 net over the same period of time.

In Wandsworth, properties typically have earned £102,000 more than the typical wage over the last two years and in Ealing the difference is more than £90,000.

In eight local authority districts across the UK, the increase in house prices over the last two years has outstripped the amount someone would have typically earned over the period by more than £80,000.

House prices have also been rising faster than people can typically earn a wage in areas beyond just London and the surrounding commuter belt, with strong property price growth having also been seen in some of the country's most picturesque landscapes.

Halifax said that in Monmouthshire in Wales, house prices have typically increased by £47,449 over the last two years, while average local earnings over the period have been lower, at £45,047.

Over the English border, in the Cotswold local authority district in the south west of England, the average property price has increased by £72,920 over the last two years, while typical earnings over the period have amounted to £41,698.

Across the UK as a whole, the average wage taken home over the last two years amounts to £42,633, which is just over £8,500 higher than the average house price increase over the same time period, at £34,097.

Martin Ellis, a housing economist at Halifax, said that while the rising price of property may come as "good news" to people who already own their own home, it also reflects the scale of the battle that people trying to take their first step on the property ladder have on their hands as they try to keep up with house price inflation in areas where competition for homes is particularly strong.

Mr Ellis said: "It is challenging news for those looking to buy their first home in such areas, with prices being pushed out of range for many young people."

Halifax used its own house price database as well as figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) covering average earnings to make the findings.

Here are the top 10 places where houses have "earned" more than the average local wage over the last two years, with the increase in house prices followed by the average amount earned over two years and the difference:

1. Hammersmith and Fulham, London, £199,930, £56,698, £143,232

2. Wandsworth, London, £161,105, £58,345, £102,760

3. Ealing, London, £136,895, £46,494, £90,400

4. Kensington and Chelsea, London, £156,388, £66,746, £89,642

5. Elmbridge, South East, £145,512, £56,909, £88,603

6. South Buckinghamshire, South East, £139,249, £51,692, £87,557

7. Hackney, London, £135,072, £49,622, £85,449

8. Richmond upon Thames, London, £140,402, £59,353, £81,049

9. Southwark, London, £130,561, £51,391, £79,170

10. Brent, London, £124,464, £45,672, £78,792

10 property hotspots
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Homes 'earn' more than their owners

In Scotland, Edinburgh is seen as a city with huge growth potential. In 2014, prices in Edinburgh were up 10% in a post referendum boom that shows little sign of slowing down.

Local agents are not expecting quite such stellar growth for the next 12 months, but they think price rises will be well above the average predicted for the whole country.

Rightmove named this as the area where it expects house prices to grow the most over the next five years. It says that over this period there will be a huge number of people moving out of London in order to afford to get onto the property ladder. They want a reasonable commute combined with plenty of attractions in the local area, and Southampton offers all this. With relatively affordable housing stock, it's a prime candidate for growth.

Luton was Rightmove's candidate for the second biggest house price rises over the next five years. It emphasised that this isn't a mater of opinion, it is the result of crunching the data.

Luton is another major beneficiary of the move out of London, and while it is arguably not as attractive a place to live as Southampton, it's only 23 minutes into central London - which rivals some of inner London's commuter times. With average prices of £179,368, it's clearly a far more affordable option, and the area has already started to show signs of a boom.

This was the third area suggested by Rightmove. As with Southampton, it is well positioned for London commuters, and also has huge local attractions.

A survey last year asked young professionals to name the place they would most like to live, and Brighton and Hove were the only areas that appeared on the list outside London.

One of the reasons it's not higher up the list is that houses are already on the pricey side, with an average cost of £338,956 - up 13% in the past year alone.

There may be few people who grow up with the dream of living in Swindon, but the electrification of the rail line to London will bring travel times down across the West Country, so Swindon becomes part of the outer commuter area.

Given that the average property costs £168, 968, it's easy to see why Swindon will be a popular option for commuters on a tight budget.

Bath is also going to benefit from electrification of the line, because the commute to London will fall to a manageable 70 minutes. The beauty of the city - along with a vibrant social and cultural life - makes it a clear choice for more long-distance commuters.

Of course, with an average asking price of £374,617, it's not a tremendously cheap place to buy, but the geography of the city restricts development, so these prices are expected to rise still further.

Property Frontiers says that the booming house prices in Oxford are set to get even higher. At the moment, travel to London takes 60 minutes, but this will reduce even further in 2016 when the line is electrified. Prices in the most desirable parts of the centre aren't much cheaper than London.

However, further out there are pockets of affordability, and when the Water Eaton station opens in 2015 it will open up areas to the north of the city too.

Manchester has seen enormous property price rises over the last couple of years, and Property Frontiers expects this to continue into 2015.

Other commentators are expecting the growth to slow over the next few years, especially given the gains made since 2012. However, demand for properties remains buoyant, and with the growth of the local economy, price rises seem inevitable.

Rising prices in London have pushed buyers further and further out of the centre, so estate agents are now claiming zone three as 'the new zone 2'.

Savills believes that the biggest gains over the next five years will be the less glamorous districts - putting the South and East in the frame. Gritty areas that could benefit include Ladywell, Streatham and Catford in the south, and Leytonstone, Forest Gate and Walthamstow in the east.

Cambridge could also perform well. It has already had house prices lifted by the growth of tech companies to the north of the city, and the arrival of pharmaceutical headquarters will help push prices up further.

In 2016 a new rail service from the city to the science park will keep prices rising, and beyond the opportunities presented by the local economy, Cambridge is also part of the 'outer commute' area of London, which Savills expects to shoot up in value over the next five years.


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