Affordable Houses for Key Workers Increases

The number of towns with affordable houses for key public sector workers has increased since 2007, a new study shows.

The research by Halifax reveals housing affordability for these workers has improved since house prices peaked in the third quarter of 2007.

Their survey shows 35 percent of towns have now become affordable to workers on these salaries, based on the house price to average earnings measure.  In total, 38 percent of towns are affordable now for key workers, compared to just three percent in 2007.

ìHousing has become more affordable for key public sector workers across the country since house prices peaked in 2007,î said Nitesh Patel, Halifax housing economist.

ìGovernment schemes to assist low-cost home ownership are welcome, although it remains to be seen how the big impact on key workers will be.î

Sixty two percent of towns however remain out of reach for workers on these average salaries.

Nurses, teachers, police officers, fire fighters and paramedics, are employees in each of the five key worker groups.

The most affordable town for these workers is Nelson in Lancashire, followed by Lockgelly in Fife, and Bootle in Merseyside.

The least affordable towns are all in London: Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster and Camden.

Compared to a decade ago however, housing affordability for key workers is still poor.  Sixty four percent of towns in 2001 were affordable for these workers in 2001, compared to 38 percent now. 

Nurses have fared the worst in this period, as in 2001 55 percent of towns were affordable to them, compared to just 22 percent today.

In other news from Halifax, buying a house is now more affordable than renting, as the cost of monthly mortgage repayments is typically 14 percent lower than the price of renting a property.

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