Housing UK
Northern cities in England dominate the top 10 locations for affordability Reuters

The cost of housing is a major issue for people living in England as three million working parents have cut back on buying food in a bid to help pay their rent or mortgage, according to homelessness charity Shelter.

The poll, which was conducted by YouGov and questioned more than 10,000 respondents in July, found that 36.7% of working adults with children aged under 18 said they had cut back on the amount they spend on food to help pay for their housing costs – equivalent to 3.1 million parents.

The research also revealed that more than one in ten parents (10.5%) – equivalent to over three quarters of a million people – had gone to the extreme of skipping meals to help pay for their home.

Shelter warned that millions of ordinary working families, whose monthly budgets are already stretched to breaking point by high housing costs, are at serious risk of losing their home if they face any sudden cut in income or further cost rises.

"No parent should be forced to choose between putting food on the table and paying for the roof over their children's heads," said Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter.

"These shocking figures show that millions of us are having to make these kind of agonising choices every day.

"Sky-high housing costs and cuts to support are leaving many families trapped on a financial knife-edge."

The findings come after research from estate agent Knight Frank found that Northern cities in England dominate the top 10 locations for affordability because house prices are a far smaller multiple of average earnings than elsewhere.

This is despite rapid house price growth in London, where official figures show the average value has hit just less than £500,000 (€629,000, $829,000).

In Durham, a few miles south of Newcastle, the average house price is £81,774.

Second place went to Nottingham, with a 3.4 ratio between the average price of £86,073 and earnings of £24,985.

Third was Liverpool at 3.6, with a price of £93,023 against earnings of £25,570.