70% of homes on the market in the North West are unaffordable, according to research from Shelter.
The charity looked at asking prices for thousands of properties for sale in the North West on a given day and compared them with the mortgage people on average wages could afford.
The research revealed that in over a third of areas in the region, fewer than one in four of the suitable homes on the market were affordable for a typical family, even assuming that they were able to save an 18% deposit - the average size deposit for a first-time buyer.
The situation is even worse for those hoping to buy with a smaller deposit. Shockingly, the charity's research found 79% of homes for sale in the North West are unaffordable for families with a 95% loan, as higher monthly mortgage costs push even more homes out of reach.
In many places, it claims, the chances of finding a suitable property were near zero. These included Blackpool where 282 out of 1,253 homes for sale were affordable, Trafford where there were 187 out of 1,356 homes for sale, and South Lakeland where there were just 43 out of 1,069.
Shelter is calling on the government to put the prospect of a stable home back in reach of ordinary working people. It wants a new generation of part rent, part buy homes, and making sure that smaller house builders can find the finance and land they need to build.
Single people in the North West have the least chance of getting a foot on the property ladder, with only 13 out of every 100 homes on the market affordable.
But couples without children with two full-time incomes could still struggle.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: 'When a family looking to buy their first home searches a whole town for a place to live and finds nothing they can afford, it's clear we're not just facing a housing shortage any more: it's a full-blown drought.
'As the pool of affordable properties shrinks ever smaller, thousands of people are being forced to wave goodbye to their dreams of a home of their own - even those who've been able to put aside a large deposit.
"Our failure to build more homes is leaving a whole generation of young people with no choice but to remain trapped in expensive and unstable private renting, or stuck in their childhood bedrooms for years no matter how hard they work or save.'