United Kingdom

Most and least affordable places in Britain for first time buyers

Kensington and Chelsea is the least affordable place in Britain for first-time buyers to get a foot on the property ladder, data analysis has found. 

First-time buyers in the London borough typically need to shell out 16.8 times their earnings to be able to afford the average house price in the neighbourhood.

The typical price paid for a home in the area is currently £2.2million, after property owners experienced a boost in value of £47,218 over the past 12 months.

At the other end of the spectrum, in East Ayrshire, Scotland, those hoping to buy their first home would pay 2.3 times the typical earnings on average. 

East Ayrshire covers a large area to the south of Glasgow, with Kilmarnock and Cumnock being its main towns. The area's current average house price is £131,532.

The district has also seen an increase in property value since the pandemic struck last March, with Zoopla noting a jump of £12,646. 

First-time buyers in Kensington and Chelsea (pictured) typically need to shell out 16.8 times their earnings to be able to afford the average house price in the neighbourhood 

Pictured: The least affordable places in Britain for first time property buyers

The report by Nationwide Building Society measured the average first-time buyer house price to earnings ratios in local areas across Britain, using Office for National Statistics (ONS) data.

Among the least affordable neighbourhoods for first-time buyers are Hertsmere in Hertfordshire, Oxford, Bath and North East Somerset and Rutland in the East Midlands.

Buyers in Ryedale, Yorkshire have to pay 6.5 times their earnings on average to get on the property ladder, with Redditch, South Lakeland, Cardiff and Edinburgh completing the top ten.

The most affordable, after East Ayrshire, include County Durham, North East Lincolnshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Great Yarmouth, Swindon, Dover and Bromley.

MOST AFFORDABLE PLACES FOR FIRST-TIME BUYERS 

The most affordable areas in Britain, followed by the average first-time buyer house price to earnings ratio, according to Nationwide: 

  • Scotland, East Ayrshire, 2.3
  • North West, Copeland, 2.5 
  • North East, County Durham, 2.7
  • Wales, Merthyr Tydfil, 3.2
  • West Midlands, Stoke-on-Trent, 3.2
  • Yorkshire and the Humber, North East Lincolnshire, 3.3
  • East Midlands, Bolsover, 3.7 
  • East of England, Great Yarmouth, 4.5
  • South West, Swindon, 5.1
  • South East, Dover, 5.5
  • London, Bromley, 6.7

MOST IMPROVEMENT FOR AFFORDABILITY FROM 2015 TO 2020 

These are the areas which have recorded the biggest improvements in affordability, with the ratio in 2015 followed by that in 2020: 

  • Hammersmith and Fulham, 15.6, 11.5
  • Scotland, Aberdeen City, 4.7, 3.2
  • South West, Torridge, 6.2, 5.3
  • East of England, Brentwood, 5.7, 5.1
  • Yorkshire, Harrogate, 6.0, 5.3
  • North East, Middlesbrough, 3.5, 2.9
  • West Midlands, Solihull, 5.2, 4.6
  • South East, Oxford, 9.8, 9.2
  • North West, Carlisle, 4.0, 3.5
  • Wales, Gwynedd, 4.8, 4.4
  • East Midlands, Oadby and Wigston, 5.4, 5.0

The typical price paid for a home in Kensington and Chelsea is currently £2.2million, after property owners experienced a boost in value of £47,218 over the past 12 months

The data also examined which areas in Britain have seen the most significant improvements in affordability between 2015 and 2020. 

Hammersmith and Fulham in west London topped the list, with first-time buyers now having to spend 11.5 times their salary on average compared to 15.6 five years ago.

Others to improve their affordability included Aberdeen City, Harrogate in Yorkshire, Middlesbrough, Solihill in the West Midlands, Gwynedd in Wales, Torridge and Brentwood. 

Andrew Harvey, senior economist at Nationwide, said: 'In Wales and Scotland, the respective capital cities see strong demand for housing and have the highest house price to earnings ratios.

'The London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham has seen the biggest improvement in affordability over the period, with the average first-time buyer house price to earnings ratio falling from 15.6 to 11.5. 

Pictured: The most and least affordable areas in Britain for first-time property buyers

'This was driven by a combination of lower prices (12 per cent lower than five years ago) and higher earnings (up 17 per cent compared with 2015). 

'In Scotland, the city of Aberdeen has seen the greatest improvement in affordability, with average first-time buyer house price to earnings ratio declining from 4.7 to 3.2 in the last five years. 

'This is predominantly due to the 28 per cent fall in average prices over the period, though incomes have also risen by seven per cent.

'In the South West, the district of Torridge in north Devon has seen its house price to earnings ratio improve from 6.2 to 5.3.

'This appears to be due to strong growth in earnings over the period, which were 32 per cent higher compared with 2015.

'Affordability gains in other regions have been more modest. Overall, 25 per cent of local authorities in Great Britain have seen an improvement in affordability compared with 2015.'     

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