Key workers in the public sector are unable to afford property in two-thirds of UK towns, a survey showed.
Rising property prices mean that teachers, nurses, firefighters and police officers cannot afford property in the majority of UK towns, Halifax bank said.
More than 330 of the 519 towns surveyed by Halifax were deemed unaffordable (where the average house price was more than 4.46 times the average working wage).
London had the biggest gap between average wages of public sector workers and house prices. A home in the capital typically costs 11.1 times the annual salary of ambulance staff and 9.5 times a nurse’s wages.
Martin Ellis, chief economist at Halifax, said: “Now it is difficult for key workers to buy the average house, not only in the south of England but also in significant parts of the Midlands, northern England, Wales and Scotland.”
The gap between property prices and wages has grown considerably in the past five years. Just under a quarter of towns were rated as unaffordable in 2001.
About 18 of the 20 least affordable towns, including Gerrards Cross, Sevenoaks and Weybridge, were in the south of England.