HOUSE prices in the North-East have risen twice as fast as salaries, pushing mortgages and rents out of reach of many workers.

According to the National Housing Federation, while the region's average wage rose by 33 per cent between 2002 and 2012, house prices rose by an average of 83 per cent, with a particularly steep increase of 105 per cent in Middlesbrough and 100 per cent in Hartlepool.

The federation’s Home Truths 2013/2014: North-East report has warned that just 60 per cent of the new homes needed in the region are currently being built and the average home now costs more than seven times the average income.

It predicts that private rental costs will rise by another 25 per cent by 2020 and warns that the rising housing costs are forcing more people to rely on Government help to stay in their homes.

Between 2009 and 2013, there was a 100 per cent increase in working people claiming housing benefit.

Monica Burns, North-East external affairs manager for the National Housing Federation, said: “High house prices, rising rents and stagnant wages in the North-East are not only making life difficult for people living and working in the region, but they are also affecting employers and businesses and risk holding back economic growth.

“Workers in the region are becoming a generation of renters, unable to get on the housing ladder and faced with continually rising rents.”

Meanwhile, a study from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has shown that the North-East has more skip applications than anywhere else in the country, indicating that homeowners are opting to repair and renovate their properties.

The region saw 58 skip licences issued per 100,000 people between October 2012 and January this year – five times more than the South West. Yorkshire and the Humber were a close second, with 57.

Alan Muse, director of Built Environment at RICS, said: “Skips are a very visible indicator of the health of small and independent construction firms and a good bellwether for the wider economy.

“During the downtown, many will have noticed a dip in the number of skips on our streets as households reined in spending.”