House boats among the few affordable homes in London, says charity

canal boats in London Image copyright Thinkstock

One of the few chances of finding an affordable home in London could be to live on a house boat, according to the homeless charity Shelter.

It claimed that only 43 homes for sale in the city ranked as affordable for those on an average wage.

Four of those were houseboats, and one was a mobile home.

The research suggested that 80% of properties in England were unaffordable for families looking to buy a home for the first time.

It used a typical income and mortgage criteria as the basis for its affordability test.


The houseboats cost up to £165,000 each, and the mobile home cost £125,000.

But in 10% of local authority areas there were no affordable homes for sale at all.

These included areas like Chelmsford in Essex, Watford in Hertfordshire, and Gravesham in Kent.

"Over 80% of homes on the market are off limits for a typical family, and this is nothing short of a scandal," said Campbell Robb, Shelter's chief executive.

Where are homes affordable?
English region Number of affordable homes % of market affordable
North East 5,921 42.2%
North West 14,435 32.4%
Yorkshire and Humber 7,682 31.6%
West Midlands 5,058 21.5%
East Midlands 4,450 19.4%
East 1,680 7.5%
South West 1,678 6%
South East 1,238 3.9%
London 43 0.1%
England total 42,185 16.9%
Source: Shelter Base: 2 bedroom houses on Zoopla

The figures were calculated according to local wage variations - and being offered mortgages on the basis of 3.4 times income.

For families that need at least two bedrooms, just 17% of properties are affordable, according to Shelter. For those needing three bedrooms, 7% are affordable.

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