Byline: By SION BARRY Western Mail
The cost of mortgages as a percentage of take-home pay in Wales has reached its highest level for four years, according to latest figures from Woolwich.
Its mortgage affordability research shows that the cost of servicing mortgages across Wales increased by 0.1% last month to reach 16.6% of household take home pay - the highest level of payment since January 2002.
While Wales has seen a 1% increase in mortgage payments since January 2005, the 16.6% figure is still well below the UK average of 18.4%
Over the last six months the South-West of England has seen the burden fall by 0.8% from 18.8% to 18%.
Wales, the North-East and the West Midlands all saw their mortgage burden increase in January.
Andy Gray, head of mortgages for the Woolwich, said, 'There are a number of key influences on the prospects for house prices, one is that earnings continue to grow steadily, that base rates remain stable or fall, and finally general consumer confidence remains positive.
'At the moment in Wales we only have one out of three, with wages unable to outpace house price increases over the last year and interest rates looking more likely to fall …