The UK’s most affordable cities for young professionals to buy a home

The most affordable city in the south is Hastings followed by Canterbury

The UK’s northern cities offer young professionals a better chance of buying their first home despite lower starting salaries, suggests a new report.

Knight Frank's affordability research measured house prices against regional average earnings for people between 22 and 39 in 25 cities across the UK. It concluded that Durham (average house price £81,774, average income £24,484) is the most affordable city to buy a home, followed closely by Nottingham (£86,073 and £24,985 respectively) and then Liverpool (£93,023 and£25,570.)

The most affordable city in the south is Hastings (average house price £195,374, average income£28,584), and then Canterbury (£195,374 and £28,584).

It follows a report earlier this week from Royal Mail that suggested that the SP9 postcode of Tidworth in Wiltshire was the most popular postcode in England, with South Glasgow (G44) first in Scotland and Brynteg on Anglesey (LL78) was the most desirable in Wales.


"London holds a lure for graduates and young professionals as job creation is higher in the capital than elsewhere," said Grainne Gilmore, Head of UK Residential research for Knight Frank.

"But graduate vacancies are starting to rise across the UK on the back of stronger economic performance. Our snapshot of some key UK cities shows that for young people keen to buy a home, their ability to climb onto the ladder is greater if they move to the North of England, even if their comparable earnings are more modest than those living in the South."

In Scotland, the annual salary for the three cities analysed is higher than the majority of the cities in England, at £27,938, making Glasgow an affordable alternative with average house prices at £124, 496 and a house price to earnings ratio of 4.5. Both Aberdeen and Edinburgh are less affordable at 7.4 and 7.7.

"However, both Aberdeen and Edinburgh have unique qualities which is why they might command more of a premium," said Ran Morgan, Head of Knight Frank Scotland. "Aberdeen’s oil business and long and sandy coastline and Edinburgh’s UNESCO status attracts Londoners and overseas buyers too."

New figures from Rightmove also show that asking prices in northern counties are lower than pre-crisis levels with a strong North-South divide in terms of the housing market recovery.

Its figures reveal that national asking prices, driven by London and the South, are now 8.2 per cent higher than the May 2008 peak, while Wales and most counties north of the Midlands have shown a decline

On average, counties in the north of England have reported a decline of six per cent, while all areas of London are up by at least 30 per cent. 

North of the Midlands all counties except Cheshire and North Yorkshire have reported a decline, with the biggest drop in County Durham, down 13.4 per cent to £114,554.

Read more: Most desirable postcodes in the UK revealed
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