COPELAND in the Lake District is the last local authority area left in England where the average house price is less than three times the average annual salary, according to new analysis published today by the TUC.
The South Hams is the most expensive place in Devon for housing, according to the new figures, with homes costing 11.39 times the average annual salary. In 1997 the South Hams figure was 4.92 times annual salary.
In the south west only the Cotswolds outstrips the South Hams for its sky-high prices.
Elsewhere, Teignbridge house prices have risen since 1997 from 4.77 times annual salary to 8.73, and in Torbay from 3.83 to 7.40.
The TUC analysis of median salaries and house prices by local authority area shows that in 1997, around one in five local authority areas were ‘easily affordable’ with average house prices less than three times average local earnings.
Over the last 16 years the number of ‘easily affordable’ local authority areas across England has fallen from 72 to just one – Copeland in the Lake District.
The TUC research shows 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.
To date, the debate around housing affordability has centred on London and the South East. But the research shows that areas across the country – from Rotherham to Norwich – are becoming out of reach for local people as the combination of rising house prices and low wage growth mean it’s set to get even harder for them to get onto the local housing ladder.
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.”