House prices are now six times the salary of the average Scot, according to new government figures revealed yesterday.

The statistics show that the average house price of £137,192 is running out of reach of the £22,261 median salary.

Shock waves from the deepening crisis south of the border, capped by the collapse of the Northern Rock building society, are now impacting across Scotland, particularly in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

First-time buyers with little or no savings are being faced with debilitating interest rates as the industry recoils, and many young people can't buy without parents' help.

Last night lenders came under criticism for previously having artificially raised prices by offering mortgages of up to five and, in certain cases, six times a borrower's salary in recent years.

The government was also criticised for failing to intervene as lenders increased the amounts of mortgages offered.

Don Fleming, of the Mortgage Advice Network, said that price rises are expected to slow down in coming years but this did not help those searching for a home now. He said: "Everyone (in the industry) is soft pedalling as much as they can so as not to admit that they are in crisis. Certainly the froth is coming off the market. But it will pan out into increased affordability and in the longer term that is a good thing."

He said in one instance a lender was offered a 95% mortgage and as soon as the papers were signed a further 30% loan was offered as a top-up because the person was then classed as a property owner.

He said: "Lenders were calling it flexibility, but what they mean is they are pulling the wool over society's eyes. Government should have stepped in to stop people receiving large unsecured loans."

The pressure on those with low incomes was highlighted by one case where a couple with a joint income of £26,000 were paying £700 a month in mortgage repayments.

Scott Brown, of property solicitors Warners, said more families were being forced to help their offspring on to the market. But he added: "First- time buyers should be reassured that prices aren't likely to rise dramatically which will help them get that first step."

Jamie Hepburn, SNP MSP for Central Scotland, who obtained the government figures in a parliamentary question, said: "People are spending a lot of money a month as a proportion of their take home pay." He said right to buy led to a disincentive for local authorities to build new homes and that he was pushing for that to change.

I have had to ask my parents for help'
Marketing specialist Emma Watson is a graduate and earns a good salary but can't get her foot on the first rung of the housing ladder.

She has been forced to move back home with her parents because she can't afford to buy her own property. The 29-year-old from Edinburgh said: "It is stressful. I'm looking for a mortgage by myself, but I have had to ask my parents for help. The mortgage I am looking at would cost £580 a month, but once you put your council tax and other expenses on top you are talking about £800 at least."