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01 December 2001

Workers are priced out of housing across the country
Workers on average earnings are being priced out of the housing market across the country, according to an investigation by Labour Research magazine. The problem, already identified in London and the South East, has now spread across large tracts of England Wales.

The magazine reveals that there are only 51 counties and unitary authorities out of a total of 171 where a man on average male income for the area could afford a house. For women there are just seven.

Even more shockingly, it shows the difficulties facing even two people trying to buy a property together. Two workers on average earnings trying to buy a property, having obtained the necessary 5% deposit, would be unable to afford an average house in 59 out of 171 English and Welsh counties.

Outside London and the South East the worst area in which to buy a home - for two people on average earnings - is Bath and North East Somerset, where house prices average ?161,863 and salaries average just ?21,732 a year.

Assuming they had the 5% deposit required by most lenders and were granted a mortgage five times their joint earnings they would still be ?45,109 short of the price of an average home.

The other most difficult areas to buy outside the South East are Rutland in the East Midlands, Dorset, Hertfordshire, Poole, Herefordshire, Solihull, Devon and Monmouthshire.

The magazine also looks at people employed in a range of occupations essential to a functioning community - including nursery nurses, ambulance staff, local government workers, nurses and teachers - and finds that, even where two such workers pool their earnings, their options are severely limited.

Notes to editors

1 More details of the survey are published in the December 2001 issue of Labour Research. You can also find out whether your earnings are enough to buy an average home in your area by visiting www.lrd.org.uk/canibuy/. The site also shows whether someone on average earnings in your area can buy a home.

2 The calculation of the amounts required to buy houses in this investigation is based on having a mortgage of three times annual earnings for single buyers and 2.5 times total earnings for two buyers. It assumes buyers already have 5% of the house price as deposit.

3 The average earnings figures in the survey are for full-time employees and are based on the government's New Earnings Survey updated to August 2001. House prices are based on those compiled by the Land Registry for July-September 2001.

4 Labour Research is published by the Labour Research Department, an independent trade union and labour movement organisation founded 89 years ago. More than 1,800 trade union organisations, including 55 national unions representing 99% of total TUC membership, are affiliated.

5 For further information on this press release contact Clare Ruhemann on 0207 902 9824.

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