Shropshire Star comment: Homing in on a crisis for buyers
Want to buy a house? Then wait.
Wait as you scrimp and save, striving to accumulate enough to give you a foot on the housing ladder.
Wait – and despair. Because as fast as you save, you are liable to see house prices rising faster. It is like being in a rigged race. However fast you run, the finishing line becomes more distant. It is enough to break the morale of anyone.
Youngsters living in rural areas already know that if they want to achieve their dream of owning a home, they will have to look to the towns and cities, because housing in villages and country towns comes at a premium price which they cannot hope to afford.
But new figures from Zoopla show that the door is also closing for those heading for the cities. First-time buyers need a very healthy household income to start with, and also are in the trap of house price inflation outstripping rises in wages.
To get a place in Birmingham, you need an average household income of £35,200. That is up almost a fifth on three years ago. Manchester? Forget it, unless your household is bringing in an income of £36,200. You could try Liverpool, which is the cheapest major city, where the income needed for a house is £26,100.
If all this is not depressing enough, these cities are all cheap among the UK’s 20 major cities. People used to talk about moving to London to seek their fame and fortune. Maybe they will be lucky with the fame, but they will need a fortune – an income of £87,300 – to have any chance of buying a place there.
The average figure needed for the UK’s 20 major cities is £54,400.
And so we have a land divided, the fissures being in terms of wealth, opportunity, and choice. Based on these figures, home owners in London have the financial freedom to move more or less anywhere in the country. For vast swathes of other Britons, they are simply stuck. The economics don’t work for them.
A crash in house prices would be devastating for ordinary people who stretched their budgets to the max to buy a home. Soaring house prices are devastating for ordinary people trying to buy.
Sadly housing market forces are not geared for ordinary people, are they?