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‘These figures don’t add up’

London house prices hit all-time high but salaries don’t match
Jody Whitehill, Monday, June 15th, 2015

The average London house price has broken above £600,000 for the first time in history, according to new data from online property website Rightmove.



This is a rise of 5.8 per cent on last year following a buying frenzy in the days after the Tories were re-elected and fears over the mansion tax dodged.



A report by KPMG reveals that first time buyers would need an annual income of £77,000 to get on the housing ladder in London. However the average London salary is just £27,999, with the reality for many living a life on minimum wage, zero or short hour work.



“You don’t need to be a genius to see that these figures don’t add up,” said Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner.



“There are two problems here that need addressing by this government. The housing crisis and a country in desperate need of a pay rise,” he added.



The report comes days after an index by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors showed Britain’s housing shortage is at its worst level in almost four decades.



UNITElive has been reporting on the London’s housing crisis for some time, with the winners and losers in the property boom at opposite ends of the spectrum.



“The wealthy and privileged treat London as a playground while corporations buy homes as safety deposit boxes. Then there’s working Londoner’s struggling to make ends meet with rent or mortgage repayments eating up almost their entire salaries,” Turner noted.



Estate agents have reported a surge of foreign investment in the capitals property market following Cameron’s’ re-election.



Knightsbridge bistro Racine closed earlier this year because “the non-doms have bought up large chunks of central London and then only live here for certain months of the year,” reported restaurateur Henry Harris.



Around one in 10 properties in Kensington and Chelsea are now classed as second homes.



“We are facing the biggest squeeze on living standards for almost a century. We need a crackdown on obscenely high executive pay and a properly enforced living wage and a system of sector level collective bargaining to address the desperate need for a decent wage for all. But the housing market needs taking in hand too,” said Turner.



The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) says an acute lack of homes for sale could see prices rocket further. The supply of homes for sale has fallen to its lowest level since records began.



“The problem needs to be addressed with an emergency plan. London’s housing cannot be left to a failed market,” Turner went on to say. “We must take back our land, force mixed social and private use in new developments, invest in a massive council house building programme and end the use of housing as an investment.



“Further, we must introduce rent controls alongside landlord registration and new guaranteed tenant security rights. In short, we need to build more homes and to regulate a failed market, plain and simple.”



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