GMB study show average house prices over 9.9 times average earnings in parts of Dorset and Wiltshire

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GMB members in Dorset and Wiltshire are desperate for the return of a Labour government to build new council housing as a new GMB study shows that they have been priced out of the housing market. In the South West average house prices are 9x times the average earnings of a full time worker living in the area.

A GMB study released today shows that workers on average earnings in Dorset and Wiltshire are priced out of the housing market in all 9 areas, showing current average house prices in the area are between 7 and 12.7 times average earnings.

In the South West as a whole, the average house price in March 2017 was £240,222 which is 9 times the average full time earnings of £26,789. House prices are rising at a much faster pace than earnings with the house price to earnings ratio now 8.2 on average across the whole of England.

Average house prices in the South West increased by 2.8% in the year to March 2017.

The situation is most extreme in Purbeck where average house prices are 12.7 times average earnings, 12.1x in East Dorset, 10.7x in Poole, 10.6x in West Dorset and 9.9x in Wiltshire.

A ratio of 4.5 times a borrower’s income is regarded as the maximum that banks and building societies will lend.

Set out in the table below are house price data and average earnings for all authorities in Dorset and Wiltshire ranked by areas with the highest ratio. See notes to editors for sources and definitions.

  Average property price  – March 2017 Median full time earnings – 2016 ratio  
  England £232,530 28,503 8.2
  South West £240,222 26,789 9
1 Purbeck £321,741 25,277 12.7
2 East Dorset £338,056 27,911 12.1
3 Poole £294,450 27,646 10.7
4 West Dorset £273,868 25,734 10.6
5 Wiltshire £265,764 26,917 9.9
6 North Dorset £251,414 27,000 9.3
7 Bournemouth £234,609 26,897 8.7
8 Weymouth and Portland £213,766 24,611 8.7
9 Swindon £204,625 29,259 7
  Christchurch £326,707 # #

Paul Maloney, GMB Southern Regional Secretary, said “GMB Southern region analysis of average house prices to average earnings in Dorset and Wiltshire shows that the aspirations of working people on average earnings and below to own their own homes is no longer achievable.

“The Labour Party election manifesto pledges to build one million homes in the next Parliament with half of them council housing. These figures show that more council homes for rent in all council areas are absolutely essential.

“GMB is calling on the electorate in Dorset and Wiltshire to get behind their Labour Party candidates in the area to realise this manifesto commitment.

“We have been talking about this problem for far too long, there can be no excuses for not providing housing to people that they can afford to live in on average wages.”

Contact: Paul Maloney 07901343839 or Michelle Gordon on 07866 369259

Notes to Editors

1) The Labour Party pledge a Secure Homes Guarantee stating ‘We will build over a million new homes in five years, with at least half a million council homes, through our public investment strategy. We will end insecurity for private renters by introducing rent controls, secure tenancies and a charter of private tenants’ rights, and increase access to affordable home ownership.”

2) Source: House price data from UK House Price Index for March 2017. UK HPI data published by Land Registry © Crown copyright 2017. The UK House Price Index (HPI) uses house sales data from the Land Registry and Registers of Scotland and is calculated by the Office for National Statistics.

3) Earnings data is from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2016, Office for National Statistics. Data is for gross median annual pay for all full time employees by place of residence.

4) GMB recognise that the house price to earnings ratio is only one measure of housing affordability. In practise, households seeking to buy a new property will possibly have 2 incomes and the lender will take that additional salary into account when working out affordability. However, the house price to earnings ratio can use data from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings which is more recent than other incomes data and the survey is much larger, enabling more robust analysis. A recent study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows that ‘the story has been broadly the same whether looking at the ratio of prices to family income or the ratio of prices to individual earnings.’