From a croft in Skye to a semi in Scarborough: what £150,000 will buy you around the UK

Click to follow
The Independent Online

For most people, the news that the price of the average home has hit £150,000 will be just another useful piece of trivia for Britain's favourite dinner party conversation. But for the millions of people who are struggling to join in the country's largest windfall generator since the invention of the National Lottery, it is a reminder of the uphill battle they face.

For most people, the news that the price of the average home has hit £150,000 will be just another useful piece of trivia for Britain's favourite dinner party conversation. But for the millions of people who are struggling to join in the country's largest windfall generator since the invention of the National Lottery, it is a reminder of the uphill battle they face.

However, that bald £150,000 figure masks a huge range of different markets from John O'Groats to Lands End. The average price of a home in London is £239,552 while a typical property in Scotland is selling for £85,212, reflecting the traditional divide between a prosperous and well-paid South and the industrial North and Celtic fringe.

But unlike previous booms, this recent surge has not been driven by London and the South East but by regions such as the North of England and Wales, where house prices and wage levels have traditionally been low.

Halifax's figures show prices in the North have raced ahead by 36 per cent in the past 12 months - twice the national average - followed closely by Wales with 35.6 per cent annual inflation. Last month's rise has ensured that Yorkshire and Humberside has finally become the last English region to breach the £100,000 barrier. Scotland and Northern Ireland are still outside the club.

In contrast, prices in the South East rose just 7.3 per cent - ahead of inflation but just a fraction of the 40 per cent-plus figures recorded at the peak of the stock market boom era of the late 1990s. This is backed up by anecdotal evidence. Anthony Riddle, of Sheffield estate agency Eadon, Lockwood & Riddle, said: "I think London and the South have had their turn and the North is now steaming along." In his opinion, Sheffield had benefited from its large student population and the recent conversion of its city centre into an apartment dwelling area.

"There's been a lot of [buy-to-let] investment money coming in. Most of the city-centre flats have only gone up in the past three years and the majority have been sold to investors or speculators," he said.

In other words, investors or canny first-time buyers would have made a small fortune by snapping up property north of the line from the Wash to the River Severn two years ago.

University towns have attracted buy-to-let investors keen to cash in on steady student income while the modern fad for Friends-style apartment living has driven up prices in all city centres. Prices in satellite towns of the major northern conurbations - Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Birmingham - have been the latest beneficiaries.

Research by Halifax showed that eight out of 10 of the towns it surveyed were now unaffordable for first-time buyers, based on the average salary and typical property value in each town. Of these, Henley on Thames in Berkshire was the most expensive, followed by Wilmslow and Altrincham on the Greater Manchester/Cheshire border - the so-called footballers' belt. According to the research, a first-time buyer in Wilmslow would have to pay - or borrow - almost 11 times their annual salary.

In London and parts of the South East, the lottery seems to be over. Prices are too high for first-timers to get on the ladder and push demand higher up the chain. In addition, planning permissions for new homes in the capital have jumped by 36 per cent in the past year, implying new homes coming on stream that should cap the growth in prices. Elsewhere, supply of new homes is still constrained by powerful Nimby - Not in My Back Yard - forces that encourage local councils to protect land.

Barring an economic shock, it seems likely that any town where prices are affordable now could be destined for the price rises being witnessed in today's hot-spots.

What you get where

Scotland: Five-bedroom farming lodge situated in picturesque Glenelg, on the Isle of Skye. Occupies elevated site with sweeping rural views and vast garden extending to one and a half acres. Has timber double-glazed windows and doors and an oil-fired central heating system. There is a feature stone fireplace in the main living area. Shopping facilities in the nearby village of Kyle of Lochalsh 24 miles away.

Price: £150,000

Average income: £26,081

Affordability rating: 5.75 average income

West Midlands: Mid-terraced, three-bedroom house with study in south Birmingham suburb of Acock's Green. Boasts off-street parking, integral garage with front and rear gardens, "crazed paving" [sic] and circular patio. Fitted kitchen/diner has marble-effect surfaces, electric cooker point and extractor fan.

Price: £149,950

Average income: £25,967

Affordability rating: 5.7 average income

London: Studio flat just off Theobalds Road with 15.4ft x 13.6ft reception room located on fourth floor of local authority block. Has recently undergone major refurbishment. Describes as "in good order throughout", separate kitchen and bathroom, with private balcony. Five-minute walk to West End shops, 10-minute bus ride to the City.

Price: £150,000

Average income: £42,523

Affordability rating: 3.5 average income

Wales: A private drive leads to this 1960s barn surrounded by two acres of land with amazing views over rural Carmarthenshire. Only four miles from the beach. Requires wholesale refurbishment but there is planning approval plus water and electricity. Buyer must organise drainage. Market town of Newcastle Emlyn is three miles away, with Cardigan an eight-mile drive away.

Price: £150,000

Average income: £24,231

Affordability rating: 6.19 average income

North: Three-bedroom detached house with open countryside views to the rear situated on a popular estate within the village of Fishburn, close to the Prime Minister's constituency of Sedgefield, Co Durham. Double-glazed with gas central heating. Fitted kitchen complete with oven, hob & extractor, inner hallway leads to a ground-floor cloakroom and there is internal access to the garage.

Price: £149,950

Average income: £23,984

Affordability rating: 6.25 average income

North-West: Three-bedroom mid-terrace house in lower middle-class Swinton which forms the civic centre of the city of Salford. Recently refurbished to "high standard" by current owners. Offers well proportioned accommodation with high ceilings, gas central heating and uPVC double glazing. South-facing rear garden with lawn and patio area. Larger and cheaper than surrounding semi-detached properties and requires only minimal maintenance.

Price: £149,500

Average income: £26,178

Affordability rating: 5.7 average income

East Anglia: Located in the Newlyn area, close to Kings Lynn town centre, this property has three bedrooms. Well-maintained gardens to the rear with uPVC double glazing throughout. Shopping and schools are in easy reach, with good public transport service for rail service connecting to Ely, Cambridge and London.

Price: £149,950

Average income: £26,142

Affordability rating: 5.7 average income

Yorkshire: Semi-detached 3/4 bedroom house situated in popular Crossgates area of Scarborough. Large lounge with living-flame gas fire and French doors. Modern oak kitchen, downstairs toilet/utility room and uPVC double glazing throughout. Modern bathroom with corner bath. Shared driveway for 3/4 vehicles. Rear garden has decked area with security lighting, a shingled, low-maintenance area leading to a further mainly lawned rear garden with hardstanding for large shed, enclosed by conifer hedging with feature lamppost.

Price: £149,000

Average income: £23,984

Affordability rating: 6.25 average income

South-West: Situated in Ipplepen, near Newton Abbot in Devon, this traditional semi-detached cottage is arranged over two floors and has gas central heating and double glazing. There are pretty gardens to the side of the property which also benefits from a double-glazed porch and a double-glazed conservatory. Local village boasts primary school, two inns, health centre and shop.

Rail stations on the London (Paddington)- Plymouth main line.

Price: £150,000

Average income: £26,296

Affordability rating: 5.7 average income

E Midlands: Three-bedroom semi-detached house in sought after cul de sac in Oakwood, Derby. Popular location with local shops, good schools and pubs as well as other recreational facilities. Benefits from its own driveway and double-length garage. Gas central heating throughout and easy to maintain gardens to the rear which are fully enclosed.

Price: £149,995

Average income: £25,327

Affordability rating: 5.9 average income

Comments