One in four homes earn more than their owner

The areas where property price rises outstrip wages several times over

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.

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