Burnley has the most affordable housing in the county.
According to a new analysis by the TUC, the town is one of only five areas in the North-West where houses cost less than four times the local average salary.
Burnley homes cost 3.28 times the average while Hyndburn, Pendle, Knowsley and Blackburn with Darwen are the other areas that fall into the “affordable” bracket.
In 1997 more than half the local authority areas were “easily affordable” – with a house price to local wage ratio of less than three (Burnley’s was 2.01 – the most affordable back then as well).
No area had a ratio above five – a level which the TUC believes puts home ownership out of reach for local people, particularly if they only have one salary. All ratios in the North-West were below four in 1997.
The Ribble Valley is now the most unaffordable area with an affordability ratio of 7.76 and the TUC believes that the combination of soaring house prices and the longest real wage squeeze in over a century will continue to leaves house prices more out of reach than ever before.
North-West TUC regional secretary Lynn Collins said: “We have seen a huge shift in the North-West, from a region that contained no area where houses prices were out of reach to local people to one in which almost half now are.
“In 16 years, we have gone from having 21 areas with house prices that are easily affordable to none.
“Property price rises have outstripped people’s pay packets and left huge swathes of the region unaffordable. We need to start implementing solutions to fix this problem.
“We need to build more homes to get house prices back under control. With interest rates low, now is the perfect time for an ambitious programme of home-building, which would also help tackle local unemployment problems.
“But as more people give up on buying a home or decide they don’t want to get on the housing ladder, we also need a better deal for renters so that they don’t get clobbered by soaring rents.
“Housing affordability isn’t just about house prices though. Decent wages are just as important and there is a lot of ground to make up before we return to the kind of salaries that people were earning before the crash.
As we’ve seen in recent weeks, problems still persist due to issues like the public sector pay freeze and workers paid below the living wage.”