PEOPLE living in some areas of Gwent are struggling to get their foot on the first rung of the housing ladder as prices surge, it is claimed.

The prices for houses in parts of Newport and affluent Monmouthshire are said to be outstripping the ability of people on average wages to afford their first home.

The findings are contained in a report in Labour Research magazine and claim to show the boom in house prices in the South east and London has spread to Wales.

But Gwent estate agents have questioned the report's findings ,claiming that, despite house price rises over the past three years, houses to suit a variety of pockets are available in the area.

A survey of 22 council districts in Wales in Labour Research shows that in 13 of the authority areas workers on average wages struggle to afford their first first home.

And in the worst affected areas, such as Newport and Monmouthshire, the report says single people do not have the level of income to match house prices.

The survey looked at prices in all areas and gauged whether the cost could be afforded by multiplying average wages by three times to pay for the monthly mortgage.

Areas where it is said wages are less than three times the average and where houses are more affordable include Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen.

But Robert Wilkins, a partner of Newland Rennie Wilkins with offices in Newport and throughout Gwent, questioned the report's findings.

Chartered surveyor Mr Wilkins said: "I would not agree with the statement that people are finding it impossible to get their foot on the property ladder in Newport.

"There are semi-detached and terraced houses in the area which are ideal for first-time buyers."

Mr Wilkins said: "The market in Newport has become stronger and stronger over the past three years which has developed from a very depressed base and what we have seen recently is a levelling off of that growth."

And Monmouthshire estate agent Peter Moon, of Chepstow-based Moon and Co, said: "Taking average wages of around £15-£16,000 and a mortgage multiple of around three-and-a-half, as rates are currently so low, then people would be able to afford a first-time-buyer property in the area."