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Where are the most affordable towns for key workers?

Alex Johnson

d02156a2e43044fde537ad8988acf85ad3d9d539 300x199 Where are the most affordable towns for key workers?Latest research from Halifax suggests that key public sector workers are now increasingly able to purchase their own home. Its research shows that the average priced home in 38% of towns is affordable for the average key worker to buy, up from 36% in 2012.

This improvement in the past year appears to have come mainly as a result of house price falls in the north. However, affordability remains below the 2003 level when the average house was considered to be affordable in 43% of towns.

All key worker occupations analysed – fire-fighters, nurses, teachers, paramedics, and police officers – have seen large improvements in the affordability to buy in the last five years. Nurses have seen the number of affordable towns increase from 7% to 35%, teachers (primary and secondary) from 11% to 40%, and firefighters from 1% to 31%. The largest rises have been seen by the police (18% to 49%) and paramedics (18% to 50%).

Overall, in the past year, 20 towns have become affordable including Bathgate in West Lothian, Grantham and Margate.

The lowest house price to earnings ratio for key workers in Britain is in the North, followed by Wales, the North West, and Yorkshire and the Humber. London and the South East are the least affordable regions for key workers to buy a property.

Four of the ten most affordable towns for key workers to buy in are in Scotland – Wishaw in North Lanarkshire is the most affordable town in Scotland, followed by Cumnock in East Ayrshire, Irvine in North Ayrshire, and Clydebank. Port Talbot in South Wales is the most affordable town in Britain for all key workers.

The least affordable areas for key workers are all in London, where house prices are significantly higher than the national average. The least affordable areas include Islington, Hammersmith and Fulham, Camden, Westminster, and Kensington and Chelsea.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: “A combination of declining or static house prices in many areas, combined with some growth in earnings, has contributed to the improvement in housing affordability since 2008. However, significant house price growth in the past decade as a whole has meant that housing is still unaffordable in more than half of the towns surveyed.”

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