Homes in Northamptonshire are at their least affordable since at least 2003, new figures show.
Each year, the Office for National Statistics calculates housing affordability by comparing the median house price in a local authority area to the median full-time annual income of people who live there.
Higher ratios mean homes are less affordable to buy.
The median – the middle number in a series – is used instead of the mean average to ensure the figures are not skewed by extreme highs or lows.
■ In WEST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE, wages increased by £215 in 2021, while house prices rose by 12 percent.
The analysis shows that the average house price in the area is now £274,998, while the average annual salary sits at £30,514 – meaning house hunters need NINE TIMES their wage to buy to a home, the highest ratio since the ONS began analysis in 2003. In 2020, the figure stood at 8.1.
■ In NORTH NORTHAMPTONSHIRE, wages decreased by £12 in 2021, while house prices rose by seven percent to an average £230,000.
The average annual salary sits at £29,597 – meaning house hunters need 7.8 times their wage to buy, the highest ratio recorded since 2003. In 2020, the figure was 7.3.
Kensington and Chelsea, in London, has consistently been the least affordable local area in England and Wales since the ONS started analysing affordability, with average house prices now 24.8 times that of the average salary.
Copeland, in Cumbria, is the most affordable with its ratio just 3.1.
Polly Neate, chief executive of housing charity Shelter, says the blame for worsening affordability lies with a "huge decline" in affordable social homes paired with less housebuilding.
She said: "House prices have been pushed higher by policies that have given some people greater purchasing power, like Help to Buy or the recent stamp duty cut.
"These policies coupled with a lack of supply means homeownership is now out of reach for most people on modest incomes.
“Many families are really struggling now that other bills are skyrocketing too — forced to choose between heating, eating or paying their rent.”
Last year, England saw the most severe decrease in affordability since 2003. Full-time workers now have to spend around 9.1 times their annual salary to buy a home, up from 7.9 just two years ago
Tom Bill, head of residential research at estate agents Knight Frank, said he expects the growth in house prices to slow over the next year.
He said: “Cost of living is dominating people's thinking but demand for homes remains sky-high.
"Supply is normalising after Covid-19 and upwards pressure on prices may begin to moderate by the end of this year.”
A recent report from the House of Commons suggests Covid-19 may be responsible for a slowdown in the building of new affordable homes.
It notes the building of new homes for social rent has dropped off significantly in recent years — accounting for just 11 percent of new homes built last year, down from 62 percent in 2014-15.
A spokesperson for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said that building affordable homes remains "central" to the Government's levelling up agenda.