The gap between wages and house prices has been growing for several years, and new research has revealed which occupations can now afford to get onto the property ladder across the UK.

Train drivers in London can afford to buy around 27% of the capital’s properties, according to figures published by which analysed Office for National Statistics (ONS) data on earnings alongside Land Registry figures looking at house prices across the UK’s major cities.

This figure soars to 81% of homes for train drivers looking to get onto the property ladder in Manchester, which is the second most affordable city based on these measurements after Glasgow, where the average train driver could snap up 82% of local properties.

Accessing local homes

While train drivers earn a relatively high wage, the picture was somewhat different for many other professions looking to buy a home in London. Bar staff can only afford 1% of the capital’s property stock, while taxi drivers and mechanics can stretch to 4% and teachers can afford 7% of homes. Unsurprisingly, chief executives can afford the biggest chunk of London homes (75%), and doctors can buy 49% – which is still relatively low compared to other cities.

In Manchester, bar staff could afford 10% of homes, while 40% of taxi drivers can get onto the property ladder there, making it a popular choice among lower earning professionals – although chief executives and doctors could, of course, afford to buy a huge range of high-end housing in the northern city.

After London, Birmingham house prices were the second highest compared to earnings, with 2% of housing available to the average bar worker, while taxi drivers and mechanics have access to around a fifth of the city’s homes.

More outward migration from the capital

Rob Houghton, chief executive of, points out that while some professions such as police officers and teachers may struggle to get onto the housing ladder in the pricey capital, they have much more chance of securing their choice of home in one of the country’s more affordable regional cities such as Manchester, Cardiff, Glasgow or even Birmingham.

He added: “This research shows that, despite falling prices in London, the affordability gap continues to grow and is likely to do so until wages begin to show sustained increases alongside continued negative house price growth. For those seeking the dream of homeownership and a better quality of life, regional cities such as Glasgow and Manchester offer fantastic prospects and the opportunity to buy a suitable home within budget.”

“I expect to see the current outward migration from the capital to regional cities increase over the short term, as wage stagnation puts homeownership even further out of reach for all but the highest earners.”