Fewer than two in every 10 homes for sale in England are affordable for working families on average wages. And in some areas, would-be buyers are priced out completely, even if they can raise a sizeable deposit, according to figures from Shelter that underline the extent of the housing crisis.
Rocketing house prices in some regions, combined with stagnant wage growth, have combined to push homes out of the reach of buyers, so much so that in more than half the country fewer than one in 10 of the suitable homes on the market was affordable to families who could put a typical 18% deposit towards their purchase.
"When a family looking to buy their first home searches a whole town for a place to live and finds nothing they can afford, it's clear we're not just facing a housing shortage: it's a full-blown drought," said Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics put the average price of a home in England at £271,000, although the headline figure disguises big regional differences.
Shelter's research, based on the asking prices of all homes listed for sale on property website Zoopla on a single day in April, assumes that homebuyers can borrow up to 3.4 times the average local income to finance a purchase and that couples with children will typically be earning one full-time and one part-time salary.
On this basis, the charity said there were 14 local authority areas in London where not a single two-bedroom or larger property was affordable to a typical family, and in 13 there were no one-bedroom homes within reach of the average first-time buyer.