A NEW report reveals the “tragic” house price problem that forces people to leave their Dorset hometowns.

The county takes four of the top 10 spots for the least affordable places to live in the South West.

People need to earn 12.8 times the average wage to be able to afford the average house.

The 10 least affordable areas in the South

Average house price/mean income/ratio

• Isle of Scilly: £405,429/£13,660/29.7

• Cotswold: £318,152/£17,644/18

• Christchurch: £252,564/£16,442/15.4

• South Hams: £283,420/£18,949/15

• North Devon: £211,073/£15,231/13.9

• Poole: £266,029/£19,474/13.7

• East Devon: £248,350/£19,016/13.1

• East Dorset: £268,931/£20,748/13

• West Devon: £223,047/£17,092/13

• West Dorset: £242,066/£18,720/12.9

Also – Purbeck 12.2 ratio, Bournemouth 10.3, and Weymouth and Portland 10.1

The figures were compiled by the National Housing Federation. It said 90 per cent of 18-30-year-olds cannot afford a new home.

The report said 32,000 new households are formed in the region each year but during 2009/10 only 13,340 new homes were built.

In Christchurch the median income is £16,442 and the average house price is £252,564 – so homes cost 15.4 times more than income.

“People from the 18-35 group who were born here can’t afford to live here,” said council leader Cllr Alan Griffiths.

“It’s inevitable that we won’t have the people we need to work in business here, particularly the tourism industry.

“The most important thing the government can do is provide financial incentives for shared ownership homes.”

Christchurch is consulting on building 600 new homes near Roseshot Hill to meet demand.

Liberal Democrat MP Annette Brooke’s constituency takes in part of Poole, where homes cost 13.7 times the average wage.

She said: “I find it frustrating. We are constrained with heathland as to where houses can be built.

“Quite naturally people want to protect heathland and the greenbelt. I just feel it’s something we need to work on together.”

She added: “It’s a tragedy that so many families have to move away and lose the advantages of living near their extended families.”

The National Housing Federation’s requests include more money for houses, more flexibility on housing associations using private money to build new homes, and planning regulations that “incentivise” affordable homes.