THE average annual salary of a Thurrock worker would be more than £50,000, if wages had risen at the same rate as house prices since 1997, research has found.
Figures from the homeless charity Shelter show the huge disparity between the increase in wages and house prices between 1997 and 2012.
In 1997, the average wage of a Thurrock worker was £16,370 and the average house price was £57,721.
By 2012, salaries had risen to £20,961, but house prices had boomed to £182,391.
Shelter says if wages had risen in line with house price inflation, the average salary in the borough in 2012 would have been £51,726.
Thurrock Tory MP Jackie Doyle-Price said it would take a generation to establish a sensible house price/earnings ratio, adding the figures showed how out of line property prices had become.
She said: “This has been fuelled partly by the failure to build enough new housing, but mostly because of the explosion of credit which took place under the last Government. In 1998, I bought a flat which doubled in price within three years.
“People were seduced into thinking the value of their property would inexorably rise and that fuelled property price inflation, which was unsustainable.”
She added: “People need to get used to the fact houses are for living in, not for gambling on.
“It illustrates perfectly how Labour wrecked our economy. We can’t afford to let them do it again.”
Shelter has called on the Government to address the shortage of affordable homes as a matter of urgency.
Charity boss Campbell Robb said: “The reality is successive governments have failed to build the affordable homes that this country needs, and as a result our housing shortage has reached crisis point.”
Prices are 'worrying'
THURROCK Council leader John Kent called the increase in house prices “worrying” and accused the Government’s “help to buy” scheme of fuelling further rises for first-time buyers.
Labour’s Mr Kent said a roof over your head was a basic right that everybody should be able to afford, and the help to buy scheme was a short-term fix which was of advantage to a few and was a disadvantage to many.
He added: “Help to buy has also helped fuel faster increases in house prices that has had the effect of pricing even more firsttime buyers out of the market.
“What is needed is a longterm strategy, which would involve building new affordable houses. That is why Thurrock Council is building the first new council homes here for a generation and will soon be building new homes to buy.”
Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle- Price said help to buy was designed to get activity going again in the housing market.