Yorkshire leads way for affordable houses

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YORKSHIRE is now one of the most affordable areas for public sector workers to buy a home in the country, new research from Halifax banking group suggests today.

The study, using figures from the Office for National Statistics, looked at the average earnings of nurses, teachers, police officers, firefighters and paramedics, as well as average house prices across the country, and found Yorkshire and the Humber to be the third most affordable region with an average house price to earnings ratio of 3.8 per cent.

Housing is deemed affordable when house prices are less than four times average earnings.

The analysis which focused on the five public sector occupations found the average worker can afford homes in 41 per cent of UK towns, compared with just three per cent of towns when house prices peaked in September 2007.

But the bank warned that levels of affordability are still low compared with a decade ago and the research follows warnings of a mounting housing crisis in the region. According to the study, 32 towns have become more affordable for key public sector workers in the past year - including Wakefield – although 15 have become less affordable, with the East Yorkshire market town of Beverley highlighted as an area of concern.

John Bird, chairman of the Beverley Renaissance Group, said: “House prices are currently very high for the area and people’s wages are not going up proportionately.

“It is a real worry that people are being priced out of the property market and local people are not able to live and buy a home in the area where they were born and bred.”

The Halifax study names Wales as the most affordable region in the UK, while Greater London and the South East have the least number of affordable homes.

The research follows the National Housing Federation’s annual Home Truths report which revealed house prices have risen by 136 per cent in Yorkshire in the past decade while wages stagnate. The average house price in Yorkshire has risen to £161,466 - an increase of nearly £8,000 in just 12 months - while the average income is less than £19,700.

Data released by the Rightmove House Price Index shows the average UK asking price for a property coming on to the market hit an all-time high this month, beating the record set nearly four years ago.

Average asking prices are up 0.5 per cent at £243,737 compared with the last peak in May 2008, at the start of the recession, according to Rightmove.