"Years of sluggish housebuilding are harming first-time buyers and those on low incomes by forcing up the price of the most affordable homes."
The cost of the entry level housing is rising more than three times as fast as the wider market in some areas, according to research by housing developer Project Etopia.
Its figures show that prices of entry level homes have risen 3.5 times quicker than the overall market in Copeland, Cumbria, over the past five years.
After Copeland, prices for the cheapest homes rose 2.5 times as fast as the average property market in Ceredigion, Wales, and Pendle and Burnley in Lancashire between 2014 and 2019.
Of the 314 places in the study, which excludes London, the price paid for the most affordable homes in Uttlesford, Essex rose the most, increasing by 63.3% in five years.
It means the cost of the most affordable homes in Uttlesford have risen from £150,000 to £245,000 in five years. Over the same period, the price paid for the average home in Uttlesford rose by 30.1%, from £303,033 to £394,117.
Uttlesford was followed by Corby, Northamptonshire, and Three Rivers in Hertfordshire, where the price of the most affordable homes has risen 62.5%. By contrast, average property prices in those locations rose by 43.3% and 42.1% respectively.
Meanwhile, some areas have seen muted house price growth among the cheapest properties compared with the local market.
Only Redcar & Cleveland and County Durham have seen the cost of the most affordable homes fall in the past five years. Hartlepool, Conwy and Milton Keynes have seen the biggest gulf in price growth in first-time buyers’ favour.
Joseph Daniels, CEO of Project Etopia, commented: “These damning figures show that years of sluggish housebuilding are harming first-time buyers and those on low incomes by forcing up the price of the most affordable homes.
“The result is a two-tier market that is completely out of sync with itself in some areas.
“In just five years, house prices for the cheapest homes have risen by more than 60% in some places, locking many people out of the housing market altogether.
“The ultimate solution to this problem will be greater supply of homes. The house building industry and policy makers must not take their eye off the ball.”