The issue of housing affordability has become a more pronounced part of the public discourse in the past decade or so. This reflects a number of issues, including higher house and rent prices, changing household formation patterns, stricter credit lending regulations and a misalignment between supply and demand for housing.
This paper aims to use a number of different measures of housing affordability in order to assess the ease with which different types of income groups have been able to purchase residential property over a roughly 30-year period. This will include making a particular effort to assess affordability for younger people, using income data from a number of different sources. The paper also makes an effort to assess affordability in the context of the wider issue of the cost of living.
The overall conclusion is that while housing affordability is more favourable today than at the height of the boom years, getting one's foot on the property ladder is still more difficult/burdensome than was the case a generation ago, particularly for younger people and those living in urban areas.