Nearly two thirds of private renters believe they will never be able to afford a property of their own, a report out today says.
It comes as councils warn of the nation’s growing “home-owning hopelessness”, with the average cost of a starter home in one part of Yorkshire around ten times the average salary.
Lenders will typically advance around four times the combined income of a couple applying for a mortgage.
But figures from the government’s English Housing Survey show that across the country, buyers who want to get on the housing ladder can expect to pay 7.6 times as much as they earn - a figure double that of 20 years ago.
In Harrogate, the figure is 10 per cent - more than Wiltshire, and almost as high as Camden in London, where prices are 11.8 times the average salary.
However, the average figure across Yorkshire is 5.7 times higher, and in a separate survey this month, three quarters of homes in Sheffield and two-thirds in Leeds were said to be affordable for first-time buyers.
England’s cheapest starter homes are said to be in Whitehaven, Cumbria, at only 2.8 times earnings. At the other end of the scale, properties in London’s Kensington and Chelsea are 38 times more than buyers can expect to earn.
The government says the gap between the most and least affordable areas has increased over the last 20 years, with fewer houses available in every area
It also says the trend is continuing, and that first time buyers are older than those of a decade ago, are more likely to buy with a partner and to have dependent children.
Nearly a third are said to rely on family and friends for help in raising the finance - up from less than a quarter a generation ago.
The average deposit for a starter home outside London is nearly £50,000, with new buyers increasingly likely to live in privately rented accommodation while they save.
But the Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales, said one private renter in five was dissatisfied with the arrangement, and that only 2.7 per cent rented a property by choice, rather than necessity.
The association also said Town Halls needed powers and funding to create “a mix of affordable housing options” for buyers, and renters saving for a deposit.
Martin Tett, its housing spokesman, said: “It’s worrying that so many people renting a home feel a sense of home-owning hopelessness.
“We know that the shortage of houses is a top concern for people as homes are too often unavailable, unaffordable and not appropriate for the different needs in our communities.
“All types of homes, including those for affordable and social rent, have to be built to solve our this shortage, boost affordability and increase home ownership.”
The association wants to see councils be given more freedom to access funding, that would “resume their historic role as major builders of affordable homes”.
Mr Tett said councils should be able to keep 100 per cent of the proceeds of properties resold through the government’s Right to Buy scheme,, and to reinvest the money in building affordable homes.