Hackney in top 5 least affordable areas of UK

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Heat map of London affordability

Hackney is one of the country’s least affordable boroughs to live or work in, according to research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

When comparing house prices to the average earnings of Hackney residents, the borough had the fifth-highest ratio in the UK, meaning that most residents do not earn nearly enough to buy a home.

Only two boroughs nationwide – Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster – have seen their affordability worsen more since 2011.

Hackney councillor Sem Moema, mayoral adviser for private renting and housing affordability, told the Hackney Post: “London is experiencing a housing crisis on all fronts, and residents in Hackney have made it clear that they are feeling the pinch of rocketing private rents, sky-high house prices and are struggling to find an affordable place to live.

“For private renters, who make up more than a third of Hackney’s households, we are calling on the Government to support our calls for longer tenancies and predictable rents, so that Hackney continues to be a place that works for everyone.

“We’re playing our part to support residents by building 3,000 new homes of all types and tenures by 2020 – but we can’t do it alone, and we want to do more.  

“The housing crisis needs national solutions including Councils being given the freedom to borrow money and invest in homes so we can create a new generation of council-led housebuilding to meet demand.”

How affordable is it to work in Hackney?

For people who work in Hackney, the figures are slightly better, thanks in part to the booming tech industry in Shoreditch, but high house prices still make it the tenth least affordable place to live in the country. On this measure, only three boroughs have worsened more since 2011.

These two calculations are used by the ONS to measure affordability. The first, a ratio between average house prices and the average earnings of residents, shows how likely it is that a resident of Hackney can afford to continue to live in the borough. The second, which compares average house prices to the average earnings of people who work in an area, shows how easily people can afford to live where they work.

On both measures, Hackney is even less affordable than neighbouring Islington, which placed sixth and 16th on affordability for living and working respectively.

Graeme Brown, interim chief executive at housing charity Shelter, said: “With house prices continuing to skyrocket, today’s figures are further evidence that our current house building system is rigged to fail families while rewarding big developers and landowners with huge profits.

Mr Brown added: “Despite all the sweeteners from the government to developers over recent decades, this system has not built the homes we need meaning the dream of homeownership has evaporated for millions of ordinary people.

“The only way to fix the housing crisis is for the government to change the rules of the game completely, by bringing down the astronomical cost of land which would then allow us to deliver the genuinely affordable homes communities need.”

The figures reveal a fast-moving transformation in the borough. In 2011, Hackney was the 31st least affordable place to live and the 78th least affordable place to work. This puts it in sharp contrast to Kensington & Chelsea, which has remained the least affordable place to live and work throughout that period.

Indeed, changes in affordability over this five-year period (data from 2016 is the most recently available) show that Hackney’s ‘unaffordability ratio’ for residents has grown more than all other UK boroughs, apart from Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster; and for workers, more than all except those two and Hammersmith and Fulham.