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First-time buyers 'cannot afford 80% of homes'

New research by housing charity Shelter reveals the difficulties faced by many people looking to buy their first home.According to Shelter, more than 80 per cent of properties for sale in England are unaffordable for the average working family aiming to buy their first home - even assuming they are able to save the average deposit for a first-time buyer.The situation is even worse for those looking to buy with smaller deposits, as 88 per cent of homes for sale in England are unaffordable for families with a 95 per cent loan.A shortage of affordable homes is evident in many parts of the country. In 83 local authority areas - over a quarter of the country - there were fewer than ten affordable homes for sale. In 14 local authority areas, including Ealing, Lewisham and Slough, there were no affordable homes for sale at all, leading Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb to claim the UK is experience a "full-blown [housing] drought".Although the affordability problem is particularly acute in London, it is also being experienced in other parts of the country. In Exeter, the typical family can afford just one per cent of the properties on the market, while in South Lakeland in the North West only four per cent of homes are affordable.Single people face the greatest difficulty when trying to get their foot on the property ladder - only seven out of every hundred homes on the market are affordable for someone on an average wage.Couples without children and in which both partners have full-time incomes are also likely to face difficulties. The charity says in a quarter of the country, a childless couple on average wages could afford fewer than ten out of every 100 homes for sale.Mr Robb said: "Our failure to build more homes is leaving a whole generation of young people with no choice but to remain trapped in expensive and unstable private renting, or stuck in their childhood bedrooms for years to come, no matter how hard they work or save." 

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