The ‘Wood & Vale’ reports
“New figures show the ratio of house prices to average earnings in the borough is more than 20.3 – in stark contrast to 1997 when the ratio was just over seven.
According to figures compiled by the TUC, Westminster is the second most expensive place to live in London, but far behind neighbouring borough Kensington and Chelsea where house prices are said to be more than 32 times the average salary.
Nearby Camden has also seen a steep rise in property prices over the last 16 years where the affordability ratio is 15.2, and it was a similar story in Brent, which comes in slightly lower at 11.6.
The TUC said the data was particularly significant as the Bank of England recently instructed banks to limit the proportion of mortgages they offer that are more than 4.5 times applicants’ salaries.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Over the past 16 years, the increase in house price rises in London has outstripped the increase in peoples’ pay packets. There is now not a single borough in London in which housing is affordable for those on an average local salary.
“This has a massive impact on families and communities, and also on the transport system, congestion and our environment, as more and more people can no longer live near to where they work.”
Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of Westminster’s Labour opposition, said the figures are “unsurprising” and people have struggled to buy a first home in the borough for decades.
But he added: “The situation is getting worse because more and more flats that would have been open to first-time buyers are now being bought by buy-to-let investors, and many former council properties that might have been an alternative for a first-time buyer are also becoming far too expensive because of buy-to-let investors snapping up properties.
“There’s a very straight forward way to begin tackling this problem by building more social properties that will help provide somewhere that people on low incomes can live so they don’t have to rent properties at exorbitant rents.”