New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Chart of the Day
15 September 2022

UK housing has never been more unaffordable

The average house price is equivalent to more than nine years of average earnings.

By Ben van der Merwe

Wages are failing to keep up with soaring house prices, leaving homes less affordable than at any point in recent memory.

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that the average house price reached £292,000 in July, up from £253,000 a year earlier (an increase of 15 per cent). Nominal wages have only risen by 5.7 per cent in that time, leaving the average house price equivalent to more than nine years of average earnings for the first time since comparable records began in 2005.

In 1992 the average house in the UK cost just £62,000, equivalent to just over three years of the average salary at the time. By 2020 house prices had risen to £281,000, an increase of 351 per cent, while wages had risen by just 55 per cent.

Prices for first-time buyers have risen even faster, increasing by 368 per cent over the same period, putting home ownership further out of reach for younger generations. This is reflected in the wages on which people are able to buy their first home. In 1992 the average first-time buyer had an income of £18,000, or 11 per cent less than the nationwide median income. By 2020 first-time buyers had an average income more than 58 per cent above the national average.

Liz Truss, the Prime Minister, is expected to abandon the government’s pledge to build 300,000 new homes a year; she told a Conservative leadership hustings in July that she would “abolish the top-down Soviet housing targets that we have across our country”. Truss has suggested that she would instead seek to increase housing stock through tax cuts and deregulation.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

[See also: The Tories are planning to leave the housing crash for the next government]

Content from our partners
The power of place in tackling climate change
Tackling the UK's biggest health challenges
"Heat or eat": how to help millions in fuel poverty – with British Gas Energy Trust