House prices for first-time buyers have soared by more than 200% in the past decade. People stepping on to the property ladder paid an average of £159,494 last year, compared with £52,674 in 1997, according to the housing charity Shelter. Financial Times

The situation is even worse in London, with the average cost of first purchases jumping by 250% to nearly £260,000 in 10 years.

The average weekly income of a family in the UK has increased by just 53% in the same period. As a result, the charity said, it was 78% harder for first-timers to buy than it was 10 years ago. It warned that the situation meant a generation of young people were being 'locked out of the housing market'.