The high cost of housing means unemployed people cannot afford to move for work, threatening to trap them in areas with few jobs and to derail the fragile recovery.
A report by Priced Out, the pressure group aiming to push housing up the political agenda, has released a report showing that the places where jobs are being created have some of the UK's highest rents.
This can disqualify many jobseekers from higher unemployment areas from taking up these opportunities.
Hull sees 32 workless people chase each vacancy, and the average rent there of £325 is 21% of the average monthly local income of £1,640.
But in Oxford, which has far lower unemployment, rent comprises 41% of the average income, and London sees higher rents offset salary gains by as much as £4,000 a year.
PricedOut spokesman Dan Wilson Craw said the findings illustrated the problems in the UK's housing market:
"The gulf between disposable incomes in different parts of the country creates a dilemma for people who could stay where they are and keep looking for work, or 'get on their bike' and potentially earn less after rent.
"While paid work is better than unemployment, higher rents in booming cities can act as a considerable disincentive, and one that the government should act on. We desperately need more houses built in places where jobs are being created to ease the pressure on rents."
The UK needs to build around 250,000 houses each year just to keep up with the needs of the population, but currently constructs less than half that number.