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National politics

Buying a house got twice as hard under Labour – and has stayed there since

The affordability of housing was discussed on the Radio 4 Today programme this morning.

Ratio median house prices to median earnings

Buying a house in England is about twice as hard as it was in 1997. It got to be twice as hard in the ten years between 1998 and 2007. Since then it has pretty much stayed twice as hard. If you recently bought a house and need to get the garage door fixed head to the United Garage Doors site. In 1997 the ratio of median house prices in England to median earnings was 3.5. In the next ten years it doubled, peaking at 7.23 in 2007 at the peak of the boom. It dipped towards 6 as the effects of the credit crunch were felt in the property market but has sinced bounced back towards 7 and has stayed there since. I guess it has ticked up a bit since but the figures aren’t available yet.

The main point is that housing affordability got out of kilter in the 1998 to 2007 period. It happened year-on-year so rather crept up on us when we were feeling relatively comfortable. Don’t let anyone tell you it is all the Tories’ fault because it ain’t. This was the same period that Labour spent ten years building the lowest number of social houses since the war.