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Revealed: Britain's last remaining place with 'easily affordable' housing

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Revealed: Britain's last remaining place with 'easily affordable' housing

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Finance, Local Government

Revealed: Britain's last remaining place with 'easily affordable' housing Revealed: Britain's last remaining place with 'easily affordable' housing

Only one of Britain’s local authority areas still contains 'easily affordable' housing, a new report has revealed.

According to the TUC's analysis of median salaries and house prices by local authority area, only Copeland in the Lake District contains properties that cost less than three times the average annual salary.

The study found that in 1997 around one in five local authority areas had homes that were ‘easily affordable’.

In Copeland's neighbouring local authority of South Lakeland, house prices are now eight times the average local salary.

The research found that there are no longer any areas in the South of England (the South East, South West, London and the East of England) where average house prices are less than five times the average wage.

Back in 1997, around one in ten local authority areas were ‘out of reach’ – with average house prices more than five times local salaries.

However, over the last 16 years, the number of ‘out of reach’ areas has increased eightfold, with 84% now having house prices at more than five times the local salary.

The affordability ratio of five is particularly significant, says the TUC, as the Bank of England has recently instructed banks to limit the proportion of mortgages they offer that are more than 4.5 times applicants’ salaries.

Property prices in many of the UK’s previously ‘easily affordable’ areas, such as Stockton-on-Tees, Boston and Luton, are now more than five times the average salary.

Unsurprisingly, all of the top five least affordable areas of the country are in London. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is top, with 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 Kirkless 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. At the same time, the growing number of people who have no hope or desire to buy a property any time soon but are still being clobbered by soaring rents need a better deal too.

“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.”

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