Select Committee on Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Written Evidence


Extract from Appendix 4 of "North West Household Growth Estimates Study", Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners on behalf of North West Regional Assembly, 2005

  ". . . 4.32  There is a strong relationship between housing need and affordability. The extent to which affordable housing pressure varies across the North West is considered further in Figures 4.1 and 4.2. Figure 4.1 demonstrates how affordability is an issue for many areas of the North West, in particular Cumbria/North Lancashire, Cheshire, South Manchester and western parts of the Wirral, based on average dwelling prices in 2004.

  4.33  The impact of changing prices on affordability is the subject of figure 4.2. This compares average prices in 2004 with the income required to support a mortgage, assuming that for a property to be affordable, the purchase price is less than 3.5x a single income (an ODPM-recognised threshold for affordability). Although this is a simplification of the relationship between household finances and property prices, for instance it does not take into account multiple incomes or existing equity, it further reinforces the notion that accessing affordable accommodation across large parts of the North West is a major problem. The maps also demonstrate how affordability can vary within districts, an important point which should not be overlooked.

  4.34  A simple review of average house prices (for Q1 2005) relative to mean incomes indicates that there is only one district in the North West (Burnley) where average prices are less than 3.5x mean income, suggesting that affordability is a problem across the region. Reflecting information in Figures 4.1 and 4.2, a total of 21 authorities have average prices, which are at least 7 times mean income (Table 4.11).

Table 4.11 Ratio of average house prices to mean incomes


Barrow-in-Furness, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Copeland, Hyndburn, Manchester, Pendle
5 to 7Blackpool, Bolton, Bury, Chorley, Ellesmere Port and Neston, Halton, Knowsley, Lancaster, Liverpool, Oldham, Preston, Rochdale, Salford, St. Helens, Tameside, Wigan
7 to <9 Allerdale, Carlisle, Chester, Crewe and Nantwich, Fylde, Macclesfield, Rossendale, Sefton, South Ribble, Stockport, Vale Royal, Warrington, West Lancashire, Wirral, Wyre
9 to moreCongleton, Eden, Ribble Valley, South Lakeland, Trafford

Sources: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2004, ODPM; Land Registry Q1 2005 House Prices.

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