Affordability gap rises to record levels

Affordability gap rises to record levels

ONS has reported that on average, working people are now paying around 7.6 times their annual earnings on purchasing a home in England and Wales.

According to ONS, the median price paid for residential property in England and Wales increased by 259% between 1997 and 2016; median individual annual earnings increased by 68% in the same time period.

The gap between the least affordable and most affordable parts of England and Wales has increased over the last 2 decades, with affordability worsening in all local authority districts.

Additionally, the least affordable areas are worsening at a quicker rate than the most affordable, making the gap between the most and least affordable areas widen.


The most affordable local authority in 2016 was Copeland, with house prices being on average 2.8 times greater than annual earnings, whereas Kensington and Chelsea was the least affordable with house prices being 38.5 times greater than annual earnings.

Shaun Church, Director at Private Finance, commented: “The yawning gulf between earnings and house prices highlights the extent to which the affordability crisis is worsening across the country. Limited access to mortgages at more than 4.5 times borrowers’ income means that, with the average house prices now 7.6 times greater than average earnings, buyers are having to find new solutions to get on the ladder – such as buying in couples, among friends or leaning on family for support.

Growing numbers have found themselves excluded from the property market, but fortunately, low interest rates and mortgage repayments have gone some way to ease the pressures they face.

Younger would-be buyers are the biggest losers from the growing imbalance between house prices and earnings. The data reveals that in 1997 the average house price was just 3.6 times the average income, which would have been well within reach of a young couple looking to buy. The same couple looking to buy today would face an uphill struggle, and many find now themselves looking to their parents for help with a deposit or to act as a mortgage guarantor.

Prices and incomes have grown particularly out of sync in the London market, and it isn’t surprising that seven of the country’s ten least affordable areas are in the capital. In boroughs such as Kensington & Chelsea the typical house price is now a mammoth 38.5 times bigger than the average income, which puts getting a foot on the ladder out of reach of all but the wealthiest buyers.

Such an imbalanced situation creates obvious temptations for policymakers to interfere with the market. However, it is absolutely imperative that they avoid destabilising the housing market for political ends, as was the case with the changes to Stamp Duty last year.”

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Latest Comments

MBM Homelets
MBM Homelets 23 Mar 2017

Although this is a very positive step, there is little or no guarantee of the standard of workmanship employed by the tenants. We have had experience of a professionally decorated property being ' painted'...

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ajay
ajay 21 Mar 2017

How is the "robust evidence" looking now?

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NathanG 20 Mar 2017

I've been watching the series so far and am completely baffled by the cases that were presented. Though, I don't think that we can protect ourselves from every scam possible - it will just make the scammers...

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Landlady14 01 Mar 2017

You would think so Niraj Shah! My experience only proves that there are varying qualitiers of professional in all aspects of property letting. None of the ones I have dealt with, from letting agents to...

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Mark
Mark 01 Mar 2017

Thanks for this article. Hopefully one day everybody's lifestyle will be eco-sustainable.

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Ben Taylor
Ben Taylor 28 Feb 2017

I was convinced that London was the most expensive!

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Alan Read
Alan Read 28 Feb 2017

Australia are leading the way in this I think. The trouble with Britain is we don't get enough sun to make use of solar power.

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James Powell
James Powell 27 Feb 2017

This is a very good news.

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DanHumphreys
DanHumphreys 27 Feb 2017

It sounds like a good idea. Anything to help the younger generation get a foothold.

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Matt
Matt 20 Feb 2017

Is this fake news?

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Matthew Hollywood 07 Feb 2017

Matthew Hollywood - Director Mishon Mackay Land & New Homes - Brighton The shortage of New Homes is in part effected by the lack of land sales. Land sales are held back because there is a disparity between...

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CommercialTrust 30 Jan 2017

Hi Graham, Would be interesting to see the above figure calculated against an investment via a Lt Company /SPV structure and if the investor found themselves pushed in to the higher tax bracket. Mortgage...

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