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London house prices rise more than a solicitor earns in a year


In some boroughs house prices went up by more than the prime minister was paid in the year 2013-14
Eaton Square, Belgravia
House prices in Belgravia went up by more than the prime minister's annual salary in 2013-14. Photograph: Jeffrey Blackler/Alamy

The recent boom in house prices means that in two thirds of London boroughs properties effectively “earned” more than the average nurse’s salary in the 2013-14 financial year, according to figures from the National Housing Federation.

In 20 of the capital’s 33 boroughs average prices rose by more than £35,316 between April 2013 and April 2014, according to Land Registry data, the equivalent of the average London nurse’s salary according to the latest official data.

Over the same period the price of properties in 17 London boroughs rose by more than the average salary of a police officer (£45,653) and a paramedic (£40,922), while in 10 areas including Camden, Wandsworth and Hackney, houses “earned” more than London solicitors who take home an average of £70,840 a year.

In London’s two priciest boroughs, Westminster, and Kensington & Chelsea, prices shot up by more than the prime minister’s annual salary of £142,000 over the year.

The NHF, which represents providers of affordable housing, said the figures showed how “absurd and unfair” the property market had become and urged the government to come up with a long-term plan to fix it.

It said figures for average rents showed that on average London workers were paying 14.5% or £182 a month more than they were two years ago.

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “It’s no secret that house prices are way beyond the reach of pay packets of hard working Londoners, but these figures show just how absurd and unfair the housing crisis has become.

“The housing market is clearly broken when house prices are rising by amounts larger than the entire salary of a nurse, teacher or firefighter. What chance have our core workers got of ever owning a home in London?”

Orr said even well-paid professionals were struggling to afford to buy in London, a fact which should set alarm bells ringing.

“This isn’t a matter of choice in where you live. We need nurses, teachers, firefighters and plumbers in every city. Therefore we need to build homes that they can afford,” he said.

Nick Taylor, a staff nurse in south London, said he had resigned himself to the fact that he would never be able to afford to buy a home in the capital.

“As much as I would love to stay, I’ve planned my life around the fact I could never afford settle down in London,” he said.

“I plan to work here for another couple of years to build up my skills and experience, even though I’m spending a lot of my salary purely on rent. After that I would like to work abroad where living costs are more affordable. I do plan to settle down in the UK eventually, but it definitely won’t be in London.”

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