The Strangford Assembly Member said: “This problem is growing on a daily basis in Northern Ireland. In London, a keyworker housing scheme operates where teachers, nurses, firefighter and other vital public sector staff can access cheaper housing in the city.
“A number of options must be examined with a view to enabling the provision of more affordable property to buy and rent for everyone.
“It would also be helpful if the government were able to assist housing associations to acquire more land through funding or by vesting derelict property and unused land, so that social housing could be build on the sites.
“We are seeing the start of a time where many young people have little or no prospect of buying their own house in the near future. Even graduates in working in supposedly well-paid professions cannot afford to buy their own home.
“Landlords are pricing first-time buyers out of the market and this has damaging social consequences. The greater the number of Houses of Multiple Occupancy, the more wealthy landlords become, and this mean even less opportunities for young buyers.
“The housing market is in a vicious circle at the moment, and this is leading to spiraling prices and mounting problems for potential first-time buyers.
“People’s salaries are not rising at the same rate as house prices; therefore, fewer and fewer people can get onto the first rung of the property ladder.”