Copeland is the last place in England with 'easily affordable' housing, says report

All the top five least affordable areas of the country are in London

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The Independent Online

Copeland in Cumbria is now the only local authority area in England where the average house price is less than three times the average annual salary, according to figures from the TUC.

Copeland is in western Cumbria, and home to Whitehaven, Cleator Moor, Ennerdale and Egremont.

According to the TUC research, around 72 local authorities were 'easily affordable' in 1997 but now there are no areas in the South of England where average house prices are less than five times the average wage.

All the top five least affordable areas of the country are in London, with Kensington and Chelsea heading the list with average house prices more than 30 times the average local salary. Elmbridge in Surrey is the least affordable area outside London. Even in Copeland's neighbouring area South Lakeland, house prices are now eight times the average local salary.

"London always comes out top when it comes to horror stories about ludicrously over-priced housing," said TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady. "But the toxic combination of rising property prices and falling real wages has meant that local housing affordability remains a huge problem for millions of people across the country.

"We need an ambitious programme of home-building to get house prices back under control. At the same time, the growing number of people who have no hope or desire to buy a property any time soon but are still being clobbered by soaring rents need a better deal too."

Nationwide's house price figures for August show an overall 0.8 per cent monthly increase, the 16th consecutive monthly rise, making the average house price £189,306.