However, it said 3.2 times was now looking like a distant memory with that multiple having not held true for about 20 years.
The 75 per cent rise in multiples shows how fast house prices in the UK have raced away from average incomes over the past two decades.
The insight was drawn from Nationwide’s own data, and was released ahead of a research report looking at housing for the post-pandemic years, Future of Home, which the lender has produced with Ipsos MORI and will publish on Monday.
David Hollingworth, associate director communications, L&C Mortgages, said: “We talk a lot about deals for first-time buyers with smaller deposits, but with the multiple so high it shines a light on the fact that a big blocker is because borrowers’ affordability caps out at below the prices they might have to pay.”
Other highlights picked out ahead of the report’s launch included findings of research by Ipsos MORI such as the number of households occupied by homeowners is now 57 per cent, down from 64 per cent in 2003.
Some 63 per cent of people in the UK consider themselves to be living through a housing crisis, while 68 per cent of people renting believe they will never afford to buy a home.
Some 48 per cent of renters said their experience during the pandemic had made owning their own home more important than it was 18 months ago.
About 25 per cent of people believed the pandemic had worsened the housing crisis.
Affordability was a huge challenge for renters, with 41 per cent saying that getting together a deposit and meeting other upfront purchase costs made it unaffordable to buy a home.
Hollingworth said: “In the main, lenders say ‘this is our affordability test’. They may offer a graduated income multiple. But they will push down on multiples at the higher loan to values (LTVs).”
He welcomed Nationwide’s Helping Hand proposition, launched in April, as a well-balanced attempt to address these challenges. The product offers 5.5 times salary to first-time buyers up to 90 per cent LTV, on a five or 10-year fixed rate.
Sara Bennison, chief product and marketing officer at Nationwide, said: “Our research, and cross industry conversations, show that the pandemic has exacerbated long-standing issues in the housing market.
“Layer onto that the enormous challenge of making the UK’s homes net zero and the challenge ahead becomes even greater.
“The need for more homes, more affordable homes and more sustainable homes are some of the critical questions we want to address,” Bennison said.