Monday, 16 April 2012 9:14 AM
Homes are now affordable for key workers in four out of ten towns in the UK, according to a survey by the Halifax.
The bank's Key Worker Housing Review says that 41 per cent of towns now have an average house price that is less than four times the average earnings of key workers. That compares with just three per cent in 2007 but is only a modest improvement on 2011.
However, the figures vary considerably between the five groups of workers analysed: nurses; teachers; police officers; fire fighters and paramedics.
And the greatest concentration of the improvement is in northern England, Wales and Scotland.
In contrast there are still big affordability problems for key workers in London and the South East.
The three most affordable towns for key workers are all in the North West (Nelson, Bootle and Darwen). Two of the other towns in the top ten are in the North East, two in Scotland, two in Wales and one in the West Midlands.
The least affordable areas are all in London and the South East, with Kensington and Chelsea, Leatherhead and Westminster leading the way. Clacton in Essex and Gosport in Hampshire are the only ones that are affordable.
Nurses can now find an affordable home in 113 towns compared to just one (Wilshaw in Scotland) in 2007.
Teachers have seen the biggest increase in affordability from six per cent of towns in 2007 to 47 per cent now, followed by police officers (15 per cent to 51 per cent) and paramedics (23 per cent to 56 per cent).
Martin Ellis, housing economist at the Halifax, said: "Housing affordability for key public sectors workers has improved significantly across the UK since house prices peaked in 2007. However, house prices nationally have changed little in the past year, which together with pressure on public sector earnings, has resulted in only a modest improvement in home affordability for key workers in the past 12 months."