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The Bank of Scotland Key Worker Housing Review tracks housing affordability for five groups of public sector workers: nurses, teachers, police officers, fire fighters and paramedics in 51 post towns across Scotland. Housing affordability is defined as the ratio of average house price to regional average earnings of key workers; where the ratio is below 4.0 housing is deemed affordable, above 4.0 is unaffordable (see Editors' Notes for details) The calculation is based on a single income and is, therefore, conservative. The review is compiled using information from the Bank of Scotland's own extensive housing statistics database and earnings data from the ONS for the period to March 2012.
NOT FOR BROADCAST OR PUBLICATION BEFORE 00:01 HRS MONDAY 16TH APRIL 2012
HOUSING AFFORDABILITY CONTINUES TO IMPROVE FOR SCOTLAND’S KEY WORKERS
Latest research from Bank of Scotland shows housing affordability has improved considerably for key public sector workers since house prices peaked in September 2007. However, there is still some way to go before the levels of affordability seen in 2002 are reached. Seven out of ten towns (69%) in the survey are calculated to be affordable for the average key worker, based on the ratio of average house prices to average earnings. This represents a considerable improvement since September 2007 when homes in just 16% of Scottish towns – 8 towns in total - were affordable for key public sector workers. Significant improvements in affordability across most of the country All five key worker occupations analysed - nurses, teachers, police officers, fire fighters and paramedics - have seen large improvements in affordability during the period. The most considerable gains have been for firemen with an increase in affordable towns from 2% in 2007 to 63% in 2012. Firemen are followed by nurses (2% to 59%) and teachers (18% to 76%). In 2007, Wishaw in North Lanarkshire was the only affordable town for nurses across the UK. Homes in Wales are the most affordable for key workers in the UK Wales is the most affordable part of the UK for key workers with an average house price to key worker earnings ratio of 3.6 in 2012. The North (3.7), Yorkshire and the Humber (3.8) and the North West (3.8), Scotland and East Midlands (4.0) follow closely behind. In 2007, no region had a house price to earnings ratio below 5.0. Unsurprisingly, Greater London (7.6) and the South East (6.6) are still the least affordable regions for key workers. [See Table 1] Biggest improvement in affordability led by Alloa The town showing the biggest improvement in affordability since the peak of the housing boom in September 2007 is Alloa. Key workers in the Clackmannanshire town have seen the house price to earnings ratio drop from 4.8 to 2.9 in 2012; others include Renfrew (4.5 to 2.6), Larbert (5.7 to 3.8) and Ayr (5.2 to 3.6). All these towns are now affordable for key workers. The most affordable town in 2012 is…. Bellshill The most affordable town for key workers is Bellshill with an average house price to key workers ratio of 2.5. The North Lanarkshire town is followed by Renfrew (2.6), Cumnock, Lochgelly and Coatbridge (all 2.7). There are 35 towns with an average house price to key workers ratio below the Scotland average of 4.0 and therefore affordable for key workers. [See Table 2] The least affordable areas for key workers are Inverurie (6.6), Stonehaven (6.3) and Edinburgh (5.9).
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Only modest progress in affordability in the past year… Little change in either average house prices or earnings for key workers over the past year resulted in only a modest improvement in affordability conditions over the past year. There was an overall increase in the number of affordable towns of just one over the last year – with 4 becoming more affordable and 3 less affordable. Those towns that have become affordable over the past year include Fraserburgh, Ayr, Glasgow and Livingston. On the other hand, Dumfries, Bathgate and Helensburgh are those that have become less affordable in the past year. ….and current levels of affordability are still low compared with a decade ago Almost all (94%) of towns were affordable in 2002 compared with 69% in 2012. During this period, nurses have fared the worst; in 2002 90% of towns were affordable to nurses compared to 59% today. Fire fighters have seen the number of affordable towns drop by a third. There has been a 20% reduction for police officers and teachers. Nitesh Patel, housing economist at Bank of Scotland, commented: "Housing affordability for key public sectors workers has improved significantly across Scotland since house prices peaked in 2007. Close to seven in ten towns are now affordable compared with just sixteen per cent in 2007. There are still considerable affordability issues for key workers in Aberdeenshire and Edinburgh. "A combination of house price declines and growth in earnings has contributed to this improvement in affordability. However, house prices nationally have changed little in the past year, which together with pressure on public sector earnings, has resulted in only a modest improvement in home affordability for key workers in the past 12 months.”
Table 1: House Price to Earnings Ratio for Key Workers* by region Region 2002 2007 2012
North Yorkshire and the Humber North West East Midlands West Midlands East Anglia Wales South West South East Greater London Scotland UK
2.7 2.8 3.2 3.4 3.8 4.3 3.0 4.9 6.4 7.5 3.0 4.4
5.3 5.3 5.7 5.8 6.0 6.9 5.5 7.5 9.1 10.2 5.3 7.1
3.7 3.8 3.8 4.0 4.2 4.7 3.6 5.6 6.6 7.6 4.0 4.9
Sources: Bank of Scotland and ONS *Average of the five key worker occupations analysed; this is based on the weighted average earnings for nurses, teachers, police officers, fire fighters and paramedics
Table 2: 10 Most Affordable Towns for Key Workers – House Price to Earnings Ratios* 2002 2007 2012
Fraserburgh Irvine Lochgelly Arbroath Wishaw Glenrothes Greenock Peterhead Kilmarnock Bellshill
1.6 1.8 1.8 1.9 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1
Wishaw Bellshill Cumnock Lochgelly Clydebank Airdrie Dumbarton Alexandria Larkhall Paisley
3.5 3.6 3.6 3.7 3.7 3.9 3.9 3.9 4.1 4.1
Bellshill Renfrew Cumnock Lochgelly Coatbridge Irvine Airdrie Wishaw Alloa Clydebank
2.5 2.6 2.7 2.7 2.7 2.8 2.8 2.9 2.9 2.9
Sources: Bank of Scotland and ONS * Average of the five key worker occupations analysed; this is based on the weighted average earnings for nurses, teachers, police officers, fire fighters and paramedics
EDITORS' NOTES: *AFFORDABILITY CALCULATION
To determine which towns are affordable for key public sector workers we have analysed the house price to earnings ratio for each key public sector worker occupation in each town against the UK historical average house price to gross annual earnings ratio of 4.0. Where key public sector worker price to earnings ratio is below 4.0 the town is classified as affordable; above 4.0 is unaffordable. The multiple of 4.0 is approximately equivalent to an average loan to income multiple of 3.25 plus a 19% deposit, or a 3.5 times multiple and a 12.5% deposit. This calculation is based on a single income and therefore conservative. The house price to earnings ratio for key public sector worker occupations is calculated by dividing the average house price in each post town by the gross regional annual average earnings for the relevant occupation. The earnings calculation for key public sector workers has been sourced from the ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) which provides average salaries. Very importantly, the numbers used in this release are not entry-level salaries, e.g. the ONS average 1 salary for a nurse is £30,741 . Note 1 this is based on the UK average salary for nurses (SOC 3211) from the April 2011 ASHE release uplifted by the change in weekly average earnings (KA17) with Bank of Scotland estimate to March 2012. DATA SOURCES: This research is based on data from Bank of Scotland's own extensive housing statistics database and ONS data on average earnings. House Prices House prices are at post town level, the prices used are simple arithmetic ('crude') averages. These prices are not standardised and therefore can be affected by changes in the sample from period to period
Average Earnings Earnings data for key public sector occupation is from the ASHE April 2011 release and uplifted by the change in weekly average earnings (KA17) with Bank of Scotland estimate to March 2012. The following average annual earnings (ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings codes shown in brackets next to each occupation type) have been used in this analysis. It should be noted that this salary data will take into account varying lengths of service and salary grades so is not indicative of the salary for a new-starter. In this review the key workers occupation types are based on the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes as provided in ASHE April 2011. These are:
• • • •
Full-time teachers (SOC 2314/2315) in primary and secondary school roles. Full-time nurses (SOC 3211). Full-time police officers (SOC 3312) who hold the rank of sergeant or below. Full-time fire fighters (SOC 3313) at the rank of leading fire officer or below. Full-time paramedics (SOC 3213).
There are a number of affordable home ownership schemes offered by the Scottish Government. For further information please follow the link: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Built-Environment/Housing/BuyingSelling/lift
For further information, contact: Zoe Redhead, Bank of Scotland Press Office Tel: 0131 655 5405 Email: ZoeRedhead@bankofscotland.co.uk Web: www.lloydsbankinggroup.com/media.asp
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