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The most and least affordable places for first-time buyers now

The gulf between the most and least affordable places to live within different regions of Britain is growing, Nationwide Building Society research shows.

Within London, the notoriously expensive borough of Kensington and Chelsea is the least affordable place in the capital to live, when taking into account factors like house prices and average earnings.

Within other areas of the country, Hertsmere, Oxford, Rutland, Ryedale, Redditch and South Lakeland all stand out for being pricier places to live than locations in their nearby vicinities.

Mapped: A map showing the most affordable places to live in Britain, according to Nationwide

At the other end of the spectrum, within Scotland, East Ayrshire is the most affordable place to live, offering reasonable property prices alongside, in most instances, decent wages for workers, according to Nationwide.

Copeland, County Durham, Methyr Tydfil and Stoke-on-Trent in, respectively, the North West, North East, Wales and the West Midlands all scored highly on the affordability front.

Where are the most 'affordable' places to live? 

In Scotland's East Aryshire, average first-time buyer house prices are just 2.3 times average earnings. 

The vicinity covers a sizeable area to the south of Glasgow, but its main towns are Kilmarnock and Cumnock. 

Affordable: The most affordable places to live within different areas of the country

Least affordable: The most unaffordable places to live within different parts of the UK

Copeland is the most affordable area in the North West of England. 

While the area includes parts of the western Lake District, its main hubs are along the Cumbrian coast from Millom to Whitehaven.

In the North East, County Durham has the lowest house price to earnings ratio at 2.7.

Covering a relatively large area, it includes the cathedral city of Durham, former mining towns such as Bishop Auckland, and 'new towns' like Peterlee and Newton Aycliffe. 

Bromley is the most affordable borough in London, but its house price earnings ratio of 6.7 is still higher than most local authorities across the country.

Nationwide's senior economist Andrew Harvey, said: 'Bromley is less affordable than the least affordable authorities in seven out of the 11 regions.' 

More affordable than before? Some places are becoming increasingly affordable 

Where are the most 'unaffordable' places to live?

Taking a look at the least affordable places to live, the borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London came out somewhat 'predictability' in worst place.

In Kensington and Chelsea, the typical house price  is 16.8 times earnings. In this borough, average property prices exceed ¬£1million. 

Hertsmere in Hertfordshire is the least affordable area in the East of England , with average houses prices 9.6 times higher than average local earnings.

'This area is traditionally prime London commuter territory, taking in towns such as Borehamwood and Potters Bar', Mr Harvey said.

Meanwhile, Oxford is the least affordable area in the South East region, while the tourist hotspot of Bath has the highest house price to earnings ratio in the South West.  

Rutland, which is the smallest historic county in England, is the least affordable authority in the East Midlands, while in the West Midlands it is Redditch, which is around 15 miles south of Birmingham.

North Tyneside is the 'least affordable' area within the North East, but average property prices here are only around four times average earnings, so this is still relatively affordable compared to many other locations.

Has anywhere become more affordable?

According to the research, the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham has become more affordable in the past five years.

The average first-time-buyer house price to earnings ratio dropped from 15.6 to 11.5 in five years. 

'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)', according to Mr Harvey.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, the city of Aberdeen has seen the biggest improvement in affordability.

This is mainly due to a  28 per cent fall in average prices over the period, although average earnings have also risen by 7 per cent. 

'Overall, 25 per cent of local authorities in Britain have seen an improvement in affordability compared with 2015, while first-time-buyer house price earnings ratios have risen in 73 per cent of authorities, with the balance unchanged', Mr Harvey said. 

Variations: First-time-buyer house price to earnings ratios since 2015

Rumours are swirling suggesting that Chancellor Rishi Sunak could extend the current stamp duty holiday until the end of June.

Zoopla estimates that around 234,000 more people who've already agreed to buy a home could take advantage of the prolonged stamp duty holiday if it gets the green light from Sunak.

The Chancellor had been urged to push back the deadline as many people have been left scrambling to complete their transactions before the end date in March. 

But, critics are concerned that the stamp duty holiday is merely pushing up asking prices to unrealistic levels.

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