The rising cost of renting a property in Buckinghamshire has outpaced wages over the past nine years, figures suggest.

Housing charity Shelter said private rents have risen to "grossly unaffordable" levels across the country, with the coronavirus pandemic only fuelling the issue.

In Buckinghamshire, the median rental cost of a two-bedroom home was £900 a month in 2019-20, according to the latest data from the Valuation Office Agency.

That was 20 per cent higher than during 2010-11 – the earliest year with comparable data – when it cost £750 per month to rent the same size property.

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But separate earnings figures from the Office for National Statistics show the median salary of a full-time worker increased by just nine per cent between 2011 and 2020.

The median is a measure used to exclude extreme values which could skew the average.

It reflected the picture across England, where the average cost of two-bed rose by 27 per cent, compared to a 20 per cent rise in wages.

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Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said hundreds of thousands of renters are now "struggling to make ends meet" amid the economic fallout of the pandemic.

She said: "Private renting is already grossly unaffordable. Rents have outpaced wages for years and now the pandemic is turbo-charging the problem.

"Many have had to turn to benefits for the first time, only to find the support available doesn’t come close to covering most rents."

She added that "decades of failure" to build new social homes means millions are trapped in the private renting cycle, with rising demand causing a spike in costs.

"Private renters spend more of their income on housing costs than anyone else," she said.

ONS figures show that in Buckinghamshire, the average full-time worker earned a median salary of £3,008 a month before tax in 2020.

It means if they lived alone, they would have to fork out 25 per cent of their wages on renting a one-bed home in the area.

Meanwhile, two full-time workers would pay 15 per cent of their gross monthly income to rent a two-bedroom property.

Pressure group Generation Rent said rising rental prices mean the prospect of homeownership is getting further out of reach for many people.

Dan Wilson Craw, the group's deputy director, said: "As rents have risen faster than wages, life has become even more of a struggle for anyone who doesn’t already own a home.

"Renters have had to work longer hours, commute further and share with other adults for longer just to keep a roof over our heads.

"If the Government wants everyone to thrive it must do all it can to drive down rents, including investment in council homes."

Earlier this month, the Government announced it would extend its ban on enforced evictions to protect vulnerable renters who are struggling amid the pandemic.

It means bailiffs cannot carry out repossessions until early March at the earliest, unless in extreme circumstances.