An exclusive investigation at More Radio has revealed that buying a home in the cheapest part of the county would cost 11 times the average person’s salary for that area, in stark contrast to 20 years ago.
Hastings is currently the most affordable part of the county with house prices averaging at £210,627, but buying a property would still cost 11 times the average salary for that area, according to the UK House Price Index.
Comparing housing affordability to 20 years ago, Land Registry statistics show the average house price in West Sussex was £88,057 and £73,518 in East Sussex.
However, the median gross UK earnings in 1999 were estimated at £20,800, meaning it would only cost between three and four times a person’s salary to buy in Sussex.
Although Mid Sussex is the most expensive part of the county to buy, Brighton and Hove is arguably in the top five unaffordable places to live in in the county.
With house prices requiring nearly 15 times people’s earnings for the city on average, many are forced to rent, setting residents back 62 per cent of their monthly income.
Russell Quirk, who is a spokesperson for national estate agency Springbok Properties, said:
“I think in most respects Brighton and Hove has actually seen quite a significant increase in house prices, so if you’re a house owner already that’s a good thing.
“Over the last five years house prices have increased by about 33 per cent because of the spur of growth in 2014/2015.
“The flip side of that of course is wages do not keep up with such growth.”
In 2018, Worthing was the cheapest area in West Sussex to buy, but the average cost has since risen by more than 2.5 per cent, whereas other areas of West Sussex have seen a slight reduction.
According to Shelter, lower income families consisting of one adult on a full-time wage and another part-time in the South East had a combined net salary of around £25,411 per year.
The housing charity said those families have had to turn to housing benefit as many are forced to spend more than 40 per cent of their wage to rent a typical two-bedroom apartment – that is before essential food items, bills and toiletries.
Mr Quirk, who has more than 30 years experience in the property industry, said many of the rental platforms are now refusing to take instructions from landlords who want to advertise rental properties on a no DSS or housing benefit basis.
“We shouldn’t have a class battle going on with regards to tenants, otherwise it harks back to the days of those horrendous signs we’d see in bed and breakfast windows that stated ‘no Irish’ or ‘no blacks’ for instance.
“I truly think differentiating against housing benefit tenants is akin to that kind of discrimination, so it’s good to see that’s now being eradicated in the industry.”
Many young people in Sussex have given up hope on ever owning their own home and some 40 per cent have not saved towards a deposit, according to Springbok.
The company said despite a number of schemes to help first time buyers, the sheer cost is putting most people off trying, further pushing them into the ‘rent trap’.