First homes almost 60 per cent less affordable

23 February 2005
New research by housing charity Shelter has found that the average first home is nearly 60 per cent less affordable than a decade ago.

The findings, published in the charity's magazine Roof as the annual Affordability Index (AI), reveal a deepening crisis of affordability across England as mortgage payments as a percentage of income hit 20 per cent, the highest figure for ten years.

The AI, devised by York University professor Steve Wilcox, shows that the average first home is now 57 per cent less affordable than in 1994, and mortgage payments for first-time buyers are more than a third greater than the average over the last twenty years.

The index also reveals that the south west of England is the least affordable place to own a home relative to income.

"The point of the findings is that they show not only how difficult it is for first time buyers to get on the housing ladder, but that there will be extra pressure on the limited social housing stock," states Shelter director Adam Sampson.

"The only long-term solution to the housing crisis and increasing problems of affordability is for a massive affordable house-building programme."

Shelter is concerned that the affordability crisis, compounded by the loss of existing social housing and lack of new provision, is hitting homeless families and those on low incomes the hardest.

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