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Research by the Halifax has revealed the difficulties faced by public sector workers, and first time buyers in general, finding that these groups are priced out of up to 70% of Britains towns.

Halifax looked at the affordability of houses for five different key workers, nurses, teachers, firefighters, the police, and ambulance workers.

It found that the average house price was unaffordable for all five occupations in 70% (363 out of 517) of towns across the UK in March 2007, up from 65% (338) of towns last year.

Nurses and Firefighters face the biggest difficulties, with the average house price being unaffordable for nurses in 99% of towns, while firefighters were priced out of 97% of the UK’s towns.

Five years ago, the average house price was unaffordable in only 55% of towns for fire-fighters and 58% for nurses.

Public sector workers face the biggest difficulties in getting onto the housing ladder in London and the South West the average house price was too much for all five key workers in all 32 London boroughs that were surveyed, and all 34 towns in the South West.

Key findings of the Halifax survey:

  • Key workers have the lowest house price to earnings ratios in Scotland.
  • There are 61 towns which have moved from being affordable for all key worker occupations in March 2002 to being unaffordable for all key workers in March 2007.
  • Five of the ten most affordable towns for key public sector workers are in Scotland.
  • Nurses are the key worker group with the most affordability problems.
  • House price to earnings ratios for key workers are highest in London and the South East.

Least affordable towns:

Gerrards Cross, South East
Kensington and Chelsea, Greater London
Weybridge, South East
Sevenoaks, South East
Westminster, Greater London
Godalming, South East
Leatherhead, South East
Camden, Greater London
Harpenden, South East
Ascot, South East

Most affordable:

Lochgelly, Scotland
Bellshill, Scotland
Clydebank, Scotland
Wishaw, Scotland
Merthyr Tydfil, Wales
Greenock, Scotland
Nelson, North West
Peterlee, North
Mexborough, Yorkshire and Humberside
Sutton In Ashfield, East Midlands

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