House prices: Top 20 most affordable places to live in the UK

Martin Roberts discusses the rise in house prices

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The latest Halifax price index indicated that the average property in the UK now costs £261,221 which is up from £244,513 in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic caused house prices to soar. With the average house price on the rise, where should house-hunters be looking to secure a more affordable future?

According to Russel Galley, managing director at Halifax, buyers should be looking further north for more affordable housing.

He said: “Affordability is significantly better in the north and there are now just two cities – Plymouth and Portsmouth – with better than average affordability in the south.”

In fact, the top 20 spots for the UK’s most affordable cities were all filled with northern areas ranging from Northern Ireland to the West Midlands.

The top 20 most affordable cities in 2021 are as ranked:
(Figures show the price-to-earnings ratio followed by the average house price and average annual earnings. Source: the Halifax)

1. Londonderry, Northern Ireland, 4.7, £155,917, £33,138

=2. Carlisle, North, 4.8, £163,232, £34,087

=2. Bradford, Yorkshire and the Humber, 4.8, £164,410, £34,219

=4. Stirling, Scotland, 5.4, £208,927, £38,744

=4. Aberdeen, Scotland, 5.4, £205,199, £38,016

=4. Glasgow, Scotland, 5.4, £196,625, £36,205

Perth, Scotland, 5.5, £203,229, £36,700
=8. Inverness, Scotland, 5.6, £191,840, £34,373

=8. Hull, Yorkshire and the Humber, 5.6, £156,424, £27,730

10. Dundee, Scotland, 5.8, £181,150, £31,344

11. Sunderland, North, 6.0, £179,567, £29,745

12. Lisburn, Northern Ireland, 6.1, £203,386, £33,138

=13. Salford, North West, 6.2, £211,903, £34,444

=13. Durham, North, 6.2, £196,274, £31,762

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=13. Liverpool, North West, 6.2, £215,741, £34,911

=13. Belfast, Northern Ireland, 6.2, £205,228, £33,138

=13. Lancaster, North West, 6.2, £217,392, £35,004

18. Newcastle-upon-Tyne, North, 6.3, £229,434, £36,212

19. Stoke-on-Trent, West Midlands, 6.5, £200,161, £30,698

20. Hereford, West Midlands, 6.6, £316,929, £48,048

Carlisle and Aberdeen are now more affordable than five years ago, with their house price-to-earnings ratios easing.

With more people moving out of cities and into the countryside since the ‘race for space’ began during the start of the coronavirus pandemic, house prices in cities like London have levelled out with more rural house prices as they become more populated.

In the study by Halifax, it was revealed the average city house price had increased to £287,440 whilst average earning in these locations saw just a 2.1 percent annual increase to £35.677.

Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax, said: “Rising house prices have generally continued to outstrip wage growth, which reduces overall affordability.”

London was outside the top five least affordable cities for the first time in six years, with Winchester, Oxford, Truro, Bath and Chichester taking the top five spots for 2021.

Winchester has been ranked top of the leaderboard as the UK’s least affordable city, with homes in the area now costing 14 times the annual earnings for those living and working there, replacing previous table-topper Oxford.

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