A new study says key workers are being priced out of the property market in almost every town in the country.
Halifax bank found that the proportion of towns where homes were too expensive for nurses had leapt to 93%, from 55% in 2001.
Firefighters found property prices too expensive in 90% of towns, while for teachers the figure was 77%, more than double the 34% in 2001. Police officers found the same problem in 71% of towns.
The proportion of towns in the north of England now too expensive for nurses rose from 13% in 2001 to 79%: for firefighters the 2004 figure was 85%.
And in Scotland the situation was also found to have deteriorated rapidly; nurses were priced out of 62% of towns compared to 5% three years ago.
There are now only two towns in Britain where nurses could buy a home with a traditional mortgage of three times their salary – Lochgelly and Cowdenbeath in Scotland.
They could afford property in another five locations if they borrowed three-and-a-half times their pay.