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Homes 'more affordable than at any time since 2008'

Owning a home in the UK is now cheaper than at any point since the financial crisis, according to a new report by estate agent Hamptons International.London is the only area of the country to buck this trend, with surging house prices putting the cost of home ownership beyond the means of many people.The 'affordability index' analyses the combined impact of the cost of living as well as rising house prices and is based on someone having a 15 per cent deposit to put down.While the slow growth in wages means families typically have £60 less disposable income after essential spending than at the start of the economic crisis, low mortgage rates mean home ownership is now more affordable.The affordability index shows that a full-time worker household with children would have 66 per cent of their income left after mortgage payments and essentials. In contrast, a household with one full and one part-time worker would have 42 per cent left over.First-time buyers have the biggest slice taken out of their income, just 38 per cent left available.The estate agent found that getting on the London housing ladder was particularly difficult for couples with two children where one parent works full time and the other has a part-time job, as well as for first-time buyers.Figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed the average house price in London reached an all-time high of £514,000 in July.Fionnuala Earley, director of research at Hamptons International, said a real terms rise in wages expected during 2015 could further improve the affordability situation."Looking ahead, the risks are that house prices continue to increase without any real increase in wages and that interest rates rise too causing a fall in ability to buy," she added."This said, for most parts of the country it would take a significant rise in mortgage rates for ability to buy to deteriorate to 2007 levels." 

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