Nurses have seen a significant improvement in the number of towns where they can now afford to buy a home.
Figures from high street bank Halifax show that nurses can now afford to buy in 22% of towns in comparison to just 7% in 2007. However, the figure is still well down on 2001 - when some 55% of towns were affordable for nurses.
Overall, the number of towns where key public sector workers can afford to buy have increased ten-fold since house prices hit a high in 2007, the figures show.
House prices are still too high in 62% of towns for key workers who are earning an average salary, and affordability is still significantly worse than it was a decade ago, when such workers could afford to buy a home in 64% of UK towns.
Nelson in Lancashire is the most affordable town for workers, with the average property costing 2.1 times the salary of workers such as teachers and nurses.
It is followed by Lochgelly in Fife, which has a house price to earnings ratio of 2.4 for key workers, while Bootle in Merseyside has one of 2.5 times.
Nitesh Patel, housing economist at Halifax, said: "Housing has become more affordable for key public sector workers across the country since house prices peaked in 2007. This is due to lower house prices combined with increased earnings.
"Government schemes to assist low-cost home ownership are welcome, although it remains to be seen how big the impact on key workers will be."
Copyright © Press Association 2011
Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"I am a nurse and my daughter is a assistant theatre practitioner, we live in the south east of England and my daughter is eligible for a key worker mortgage. However, with the prices so high in the south she is unable to get a big enough mortgage. There are no less than five new build sites around the town that we live and not one has a property that is affordable for the young or keyworkers that live here and need a property. Who are they building these properties for? What about the young that live and would like to stay near their family where are they meant to live? They don't want to go up north where they don't know anybody or have the
family support needed when starting out, why not help them?" - Carol Neeves, East Sussex
"Yes, I do, recently divorced and having had to sell the family home means I am paying a large amount of my monthly wage in a private rent. The amount I am paying could easily be going towards a home of my own but due to current mortgage circumstances, ie, needing a substantial deposit makes
it impossible for me to buy in the area I live" - Jeni Gatt, North Yorkshire
"Why just key workers? Help should be available for everyone who earns average or lower wages. I am a nurse, who has never been able to afford my own property; but equally neither can my 3 grown up children, one of whom has a small son and has to rent an ex-council house from a private landlord. Although she works, she cannot afford the rent completely and
has to be subsidised by the council taxpayer. If the house was still a council house she could. I think this speaks volumes about the terrible situation our young people, whether key workers or not, find themselves in. Successive governments have let us all down with the lack of affordable or social housing. One can only hope that in the present recession we do not see the return of families being made homeless because they can't meet the mortgage due to redundancy, or find themselves in negative equity that they can't afford. Because where will they go?" - Name and address supplied
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