House price growth still outpaces wages across most of the south

House price growth still outpaces wages across most of the south

Halifax research has ascertained that properties in almost one in five UK local authority districts (LADs) have earned more than their owners in the past two years.

House prices in Barnet in London exceeded average take-home earnings in the area by £52,256, the highest in the country and equating to £2,177 per month. The next biggest gap can be seen in North Hertfordshire in the East of England (£40,903), the only place outside London and the South East to feature in the top 10.

The difference between house prices and earnings in Barnet equates to 73% of the average deposit on UK house purchases (£71,297) and is £18,850 more than the average deposit in Northern Ireland (£33,376), the region with the lowest in the UK.

However, the data also found that the proportion of areas where house prices are outpacing earnings has dropped from 31% in 2016 to 18% in 2017, or from 119 areas to 71.

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said: “Over the past two years, we have seen house price growth and earnings converge at a national level, leading to a drop in the total number of areas where the average house price rise is greater than owners’ take-home earnings.

“Despite the slowdown in house price growth in southern England, it has still outpaced wages across most of the region. This means that middle earners are also facing a challenge getting on to the property ladder.”

The research also highlighted a continuing North/ South divide, with 86% (61 out of the 71) of areas where the average house price rise is greater than local median earnings over the last two years in London, the South East, South West or East of England. This share is down slightly from the last year when 93% (111 of 119) of areas came from these four regions. The top performers outside southern England include Harborough in the East Midlands, with house price gains £19,662 more than earnings over 2016 and 2017 (£73,916 v £54,254). Elsewhere, Ribble Valley in the North West (£8,217), Tamworth in the West Midlands (£3,226) and Denbighshire in Wales (£793) all saw house prices outperform wages.

Over the past five years, 73 local areas in the UK (19% of the total) have seen average house prices increase by more than total average pay, with nine of the top 10 areas in London.

Three areas have recorded a differential of over £100,000 over the past five years. The greatest was again in Barnet, where average property prices have increased by £246,999, surpassing average take-home pay during the period by £116,734. Barnet is followed by Merton (£115,892) and then Watham Forest (£103,227). Hertsmere (£71,281) in the East of England, is the only LAD outside London to make the top 10.

At a national level, the average UK house price increase of £78,400 over the past five years has been greater than the earnings in three employment sectors over the same period. Since 2013 annual median earnings for those working in the caring and leisure services sector have outpaced average house price growth by £3,718.The only other sector to see a similar trend are those working in sales and customer service (£2,439).

When looking at the difference by professional seniority, managers, directors and senior officials take home pay exceeded the national average house price rise by £77,559, with professional occupations (£63,173) the only other group above £60,000.

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