The typical UK home now costs six times average annual earnings, even though house price inflation is slowing, according to the Nationwide.

The last time the prices/earnings ratio was so high was more than eight years ago, in March 2008.

Over the last three years, house prices have risen by 20%, while wages have risen by just 6%, the Nationwide said.

In the year to the end of October, prices went up by 4.6%, down from 5.3% in September.

They were unchanged during the month of October.

The average price of a UK house fell from £206,015 to £205,904, on a non-seasonally adjusted basis.

The Nationwide said the weakness of the market may still reflect the changes to stamp duty in April this year, when landlords were faced with tax rises.


Despite the fact that the house prices are so expensive relative to wages, low interest rates have made them more affordable.

“The steady decline in borrowing costs over the same period has helped to lessen the impact on affordability for home buyers,” said Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist.

“Indeed, the typical mortgage payment expressed as a share of average take-home pay is little changed over the period, and is still in line with the long-run average.”

Mr Gardner also pointed out price differences across the country, adding: “It is important to note that there is significant variation across the regions in terms of affordability.

“The cost of servicing the typical mortgage as a share of take-home pay is now above its 2007 peak in London and above its long-run average in the outer metropolitan and outer south-east regions.

“By contrast, housing appears far more affordable in northern England, Wales and Scotland.”