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A home all of their own – where key workers in England and Wales can afford to buy a property outright – and it’s not looking good


  • Key workers with up to ten years’ experience are priced out of seven regions across England and Wales, as the likelihood of them being able to afford a home outright in the East Midlands, East of England, Home Counties, South East, South West and West Midlands falls to below 30% - with Greater London offering them just a 1% chance.
  • Only when a key worker earns £40,000 or more, can they have their ‘pick’ of the country (exc. London, South East and Home Counties) as their chances of affording a property increases to over 30%.
  • It’s estimated that around 23% of the UK workforce are public sector and key worker employees – with a million working in London.

Key workers with up to ten years’ experience, are being priced out of seven regions across England and Wales, as the chances of them affording a home outright falls to below 30%, research by My Home Move, the UK’s leading provider of mover conveyancing services, has found. (Chart 1)

The seven regions include the East Midlands, East of England, Home Counties, Greater London, South East, South West and West Midlands – leaving teachers, nurses and paramedics, among others, little option other than to move towards the North of the county, to look towards shared ownership options or to stay renting.

In London, where a shortage of nursing staff, teachers and social workers has been felt acutely over the past few years, the chances of these essential employees  finding a home to buy outright, falls to around 1%. 

Commenting on these findings, Doug Crawford, CEO of My Home Move said,

“It’s a very sad state of affairs that some of the country’s most needed and valued professionals are priced out of the majority of the housing market.

And while we appreciate that low interest rates mean ‘cheaper’ borrowing and that the Government’s Help to Buy scheme provides some assistance, the facts still remain the same – for a key worker on a prescribed income, the chance of them buying a home for the first time today, without external help, outside of Wales or the North of England, is minimal.”

Mid-range/experienced Salary

Continuing the research, My Home Move analysed key workers’ chances of affording a home outright, once they had progressed to a mid-range or experienced salary, usually achieved within five to ten years’ of service.

While their chances increased across the board, bringing the regions of the East Midlands, East of England, South West and West Midlands closer to affordability for the majority of key workers, currently 23% of the UK workforce - for the million who live and work in London, their chances increased to an average of just 4%. (Chart 2 and 3)

Commenting further, Doug Crawford said, “Despite earning a salary towards the top end of their career bracket, following years of employment and experience, a key worker’s chances of buying a home outright in London, the Home Counties or the South East, amounts to not much more than a ‘needle in a haystack’. However, even if you take these regions out of the equation, it’s only those who earn in excess of £40,000 a year, who stand a fair-to-good chance (30% or more) of being able to buy across the rest of the country.

“The Government’s solution is shared ownership. But for those wanting to own a home outright, suitable for a family and not on a leasehold basis, this doesn’t always meet their needs – and according to the 500 people we surveyed, 63% them agreed that a home is not really affordable if it can only be purchased through shared ownership.”



*Definition of career experience/salary - Entry level (0-5 years), Mid-Career (5-10 years) Experienced (10-20+) years - http://www.payscale.com


Chart 1: Starter salary key workers/property value/%of homes sold for value per region 2016

Chart 2: Mid/experienced-range salary key workers/property value/%of homes sold for value per region 2016

Chart 3: Mid-range salary – key worker/regional split/% chance of buying a property

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