Houses become more affordable for key workers

Despite the recession and spending cuts, public-sector workers such as nurses, police, firefighters and teachers should find it far easier to afford a home now than before the credit crunch, according to Halifax research.

More than one in three towns (38 per cent) in the survey have become affordable for the average public-sector worker since the third quarter of 2007, based on the house price to average earnings measure, compared with just 3 per cent in 2007: a 13-fold rise. But house prices in three out of five towns (62 per cent) are still beyond the reach of workers on an average salary.

Most of the turnaround in affordability has been due to house-price drops across many parts of the UK since the third quarter of 2007. Nelson is the most affordable town, with a house price to average key-worker earnings ratio of 2:1; the Lancashire town is followed by Lochgelly in Fife (2:4) and Bootle in Merseyside (2:5). The least affordable areas for key workers are all in London: Kensington and Chelsea (16:5), Westminster (13:6) and Camden (12:4).

Nitesh Patel, of the Halifax bank, said "lower house prices and increased earnings" are responsible for the turnaround.

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