Shelter reveals unaffordable housing costs

7 February 2013

A man, woman and their baby

If the cost of food had risen in line with house prices over the last 40 years, the average family’s weekly shop would cost £453, Shelter’s research shows.

In 1971, a typical weekly shop for a family of four cost £10.40, and the average home £5,632.

By 2011 the price of the average home had shot up to £245,319 – over 43 times more expensive. This puts the average weekly shop at £453.23.

Applying the same rate of inflation to everyday food items reveals that:

  • 4-pint carton of milk would cost £10.45
  • a chicken would cost £51.18
  • a bunch of 6 bananas would cost £8.47
  • a box of 6 eggs would cost £5.01
  • a loaf of sliced white bread would cost £4.36
  • a leg of lamb would cost £53.18

See house price inflation applied to everyday items in Shelter’s price check

Shelter is warning that home ownership is becoming unaffordable for millions of young people and families who, despite working hard and saving up, still can’t get their foot on the ladder.

Our recent poll showed that 59% of British adults who don’t own a home believe they’ll never be able to afford to buy in their local area.

Many are left with a choice between living at home with parents, or bringing up their children in insecure private rented housing.

Shelter’s Chief Executive Campbell Robb said: ‘The high cost of food is already a real concern for people - if prices reached these levels there’s no way we’d accept them.

‘Yet when it comes to the huge rise in the cost of buying a home over the past few decades, somehow this is seen as normal – even welcome - despite the impact it’s having on a generation desperate for a home of their own.

‘With more young people and families priced out, home ownership levels are already starting to fall, which in turn is driving up the cost of renting. Unless something changes, the next generation will find it even tougher to find a stable and affordable home.’

See Shelter's price check on food compared to housing

Read more about Shelter’s price comparison in our report. Download 'Food for Thought'

Read Campbell Robb's blog on our price check campaign on the Mumsnet website.