One in four homes earn more than their owner

House price rises outstrip wages

You may as well give up now, because despite the crushing commute, the back-breaking toil, and the boss from hell, compared to the money your house is making, your job is pretty pointless. A new study has revealed that one in four homes earn more than their owners each day - and in some areas they outstrip earnings several times over.

The research, by Halifax, discovered that the biggest gap between earnings and house price rises was in Three Rivers in Hertfordshire, where house prices have risen by an average of £147,990 over the past two years - outpacing pay in the area by an astonishing £97,992 in that time.

The top ten biggest gaps were:
1. Three Rivers where there's a £97,992 gap between house price rises and pay over two years
2. Harrow, with a £97,472 gap over two years
3. Greenwich with a £83,268 gap
4. Hillingdon at £82,149
5. Brent at £73,147
6. Watford at £71,823
7. Waltham Forest at £70,678
8. Ealing at £69,486
9. Cambridge at £66,620
10. Merton at £65,328

The biggest gaps between house price rises and earnings were unsurprisingly in London and the South East, but the study found other regions where the gap was impressive - particularly Warwick - where house prices rose £24,723 more than average earnings in 2014 and £14,837 more in 2015.

Should you feel smug?

Homeowners planning to downsize or move out of one of these hotspots may well be congratulating themselves on buying house that works harder than they do. However, there are three reasons why they shouldn't feel quite so good about the phenomenon.

The first is the need to bear in mind that house prices aren't always guaranteed to rise. When you look at the figures over five years, completely different areas emerge as having the largest gaps between house price rises and pay - including Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Hackney, Islington and Richmond.

And while Hammersmith and Fulham have seen houses outstrip pay by £108,653 over five years, and Ealing has seen prices grow £91,128 more than pay, the rest of the top ten cannot compete with how house prices have outstripped pay in the past two years. It means that these price surges are by no means guaranteed.

Then you have to factor in the fact that cashing in on these house price rises is easier said than done. When prices outstrip wages so dramatically, they are pricing people out of the area, so when you come to sell, you will have a smaller market to sell to. We are already seeing house sales slow down in inner London, as vast swathes of the population realise they cannot afford to live in town, and opt to buy in a commuter town or nearby city instead. It's only a matter of time before these sales slow to a standstill.

Finally, you have to bear in mind that your gain constitutes a major blow for thousands of people, who are watching prices rise well beyond affordability - and are coming to the conclusion that they will never be able to save for a deposit fast enough to keep pace with rising prices. As Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, says: "It does make conditions tougher for those looking to buy their first home in such areas, with prices being pushed increasingly out of range for many young people."

Of course, whether this final point punctures your happiness at learning how hard your home is working for you - or only serves to make it more enjoyable - depends on your outlook.

Most viewed properties of 2015
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One in four homes earn more than their owner

The tenth most viewed property of the year on Zoopla, was this beauty in Penrith.

It went on the market in August for just £100,000, and the low price and the opportunity for transformation drew in thousands of people looking for a potential project.

This lovely home was the ninth most popular property of the view. Potential viewers were drawn by the opportunity to buy a five-bedroom detached property, complete with a garage and a drive, for just £187,950.

The eighth most viewed property was another relatively new, detached property, with a garage.

This home also boasts four bedrooms for just £197,950

Seventh place is impressive for a property that only hit the market in November.

It's another relatively new detached property with a garage, at the rock-bottom price - of £180,000

The cheapest home in the top ten comes in at number 6. For just £40,000 you get three bedrooms and a garage in Liverpool.

It's no wonder that so many people, who have been squeezed by soaring property prices, are keen to view a property that offers a glimpse of hope.

In fifth place is the first of two mega-expensive homes on the list - and by far the most unusual. This one, in Newport, south Wales, hit the market in February for £1,899 950.

The 1720s hunting lodge and tower had been transformed during an episode of Grand Designs in 2009 - by a couple who added a dramatic glass extension. Thousands of us couldn't resist having a look around.

This swanky new-ish property in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, made number four, despite only going on the market in October.

It ticks all the boxes that have put so many of these properties on the list - being detached, and offering five bedrooms plus a garage.

The price reflects the fact it offers all that - in one of the priciest parts of the country. It makes it the most expensive property in the top ten.

A detached property in Bradford, offering three bedrooms for just £149,950 made it to number three.

It's perhaps unsurprising that it attracted so much interest, because it's one of the cheapest properties in the top ten, and the many thousands of viewers must have been astonished they could get so much family home for their money.

The joint-second cheapest property on the list is the second most viewed property in the country.

It benefited from the fact that it went on the market at the end of 2014, so had plenty of time to attract viewers. However, the appeal of a detached, 3-bedroom house for just £100,000 drew viewers in their thousands.

The number one most viewed property in 2015 was this 6-bedroom farmhouse in County Durham.

It demonstrates that we're a nation of dreamers, drawn by the affordable £175,000 price tag - as well as the huge potential of a six-bedroom farmhouse, outbuildings, almost eight acres of land and planning permission for a wind turbine.

It's no wonder s many thousands of us popped online to dream of a cheaper and simpler life in the country.


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