Home in Fulham Beyond the Reach of Key Workers

Our borough is second least affordable in country

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Buying a home in Fulham is beyond the reach of most key workers, who include nurses, teachers, police officers, fire fighters and paramedics.

In fact, according to the newly published Halifax Key Worker Housing Review,  our borough is one of the least affordable areas in the whole country, second only to neigbouring Kensington and Chelsea.

The report classifies an area as affordable if the average house price there is lower than the price a key worker on average earnings can afford to pay. If the average price is less than four times the average earnings, it is considered affordable.  If it is over four, it is not.

Out of 493 towns surveyed nationwide, including 32 London boroughs, Kensington and Chelsea had the highest house price to earnings ratio of 14.9. This was followed by Hammersmith and Fulham with a ratio of 13.8 and Westminster with 13.6.

In fact Barking and Dagenham is the only London borough where flats are affordable for key workers with a ratio of 3.65.

Outside the capital, the results were also gloomy with the majority of towns still unaffordable for key workers, though the situation is improving in some areas.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: " There has been an improvement in housing affordability across many parts of the UK since house prices reached a peak in 2007. Nearly one in six towns has become affordable for the average key worker since then due to a combination of lower house prices and increased earnings.

" Another striking feature is that all of the affordable towns are outside southern England, which means that key public sector workers are still heavily constrained in the housing market in the South."

The report is based on the following average annual salaries:

  • £34,552 in 2009 for full-time teachers in primary and secondary school roles
  • £28,858 for full-time nurses
  • £39,944 for full-time police officers who hold the rank of sergeant or below
  • £32,058 for full-time fire fighters at the rank of leading fire officer or below
  • £38,792 for full-time paramedics

The Key Worker Living scheme was launched by the Government in 2004 to help certain public sector employees to buy a home, upgrade to a family home or rent a home at an affordable price. The scheme is targeted at key worker groups in London, the South East and East of England where there are problems with recruitment and retention.

June 3, 2009