Homes in Amber Valley are getting less affordable

Prospective buyers need around six times their annual salary to buy a home.
Prospective buyers need around six times their annual salary to buy a home.

The bad news for prospective buyers in Amber Valley is that houses are less affordable in 2018, new figures show.

And across England and Wales, the affordability gap between the most and least expensive places to live is at its widest since records began.

Each year, the Office for National Statistics calculates how affordable housing is, by dividing the median house price in local authorities by the median full-time annual income.

The higher the ratio is, the less affordable homes are to buy. The ONS uses the median which is the middle number in a series, instead of the mean average, so the figures are not distorted between extreme highs and lows.

In Amber Valley last year the affordability ratio was 5.7.

That means prospective buyers need around six times their annual salary to buy a home.

That's 7.5% more than in 2017, when the ratio was 5.3.

This has been driven by house prices rising and salaries going down.

The average house price in Amber Valley has increased by 6% over the last year, while annual earnings have dropped by 1%.

This gulf between earnings and house prices highlights the impact of the housing crisis, with buying a home out of reach for many.

The drastic increase in house prices since 2002, when the ONS first began comparing this data, reinforces this.

The average home in Amber Valley then cost £68,950. The 2018 figure is 147% higher. In that time the average annual salary has only increased by £10,591, a 55% rise.

Nationally the proportion of households renting has doubled over the last decade, creating a so called "Generation Rent".

Polly Neate, chief executive of the housing charity Shelter, said: "The figures leave us in no doubt that owning a home is an all-but-impossible dream for millions of working families.

"Combined with the dire lack of social homes, this has left huge numbers of people with no choice but to rent privately."

“It cannot be right that so many families, especially those on lower incomes, now face a lifetime in deeply unstable private renting, where they’ll have to pay well over the odds to keep a roof over their head.

"More families desperately need the option of social housing, and they need it now."

Amber Valley's affordability ratio is below the average for England and Wales, which is 7.8.

Nigel Henretty, head of housing analysis at the ONS, said: "After five years of decreases, the estimated affordability of homes in England and Wales remained static in 2018.

"It's also notable that the estimates show newly built homes remained significantly less affordable than existing properties."