The UK’s most and least affordable cities in 2021 revealed

Where are the most expensive and cheapest places to buy a typical home on the average local wages?

Lamiat Sabin
Wednesday 11 August 2021 13:05
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Related video: in 2018 experts predicted London house prices would continue falling

The UK’s least and most affordable cities this year have been revealed, with London dropping out of the top five most expensive places to live on average for the first time in six years.

The most affordable place to live is Derry, Northern Ireland, and has been for three years in a row, with a price-to-earnings ratio of 4.7.

Every other city in the top 20 most affordable places to live are either in the North of England, Scotland, or Northern Ireland – except for Stoke-on-Trent and Hereford in the West Midlands, coming in on the list at 19 and 20 respectively.

The most expensive is Winchester, in the south east of England, with the average property costing a whopping 14 times the average salary in the city, according to the lists compiled by Halifax bank.

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Oxford, which used to be the most expensive on average, comes in second with a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.4, followed by Truro and Bath in the south west of England, Chicester in the south east, and Cambridge.

London comes in eighth with a ratio of 11 after Brighton and Hove, which has a ratio of 11.6.

Winchester has the highest house price-to-earnings ratio in the whole UK

The cities were ranked by taking into account the average cost of a home and the average earnings in the area.

Russell Galley, the managing director of Halifax bank, said: “Affordability is significantly better in the north.

“There are now just two cities – Plymouth and Portsmouth – with better than average affordability in the south.”

The UK as a whole has a house price-to-earnings ratio of 8.5. The overall UK ratio has increased for eight years in a row since 5.6 was calculated for the years between 2011 and 2013.

However, cities still tend to be marginally more affordable as wages in urban areas are often higher than in rural regions.

House prices in rural areas may have been increased recently by more people moving out of cities during the coronavirus pandemic.

Inverness, in Scotland, is the only city found to be more affordable than a decade ago. The average home there costs 5.6 times the average earnings.

This ratio is down from 6.2 in 2011, due to wage growth outstripping house price growth in the city.

Top 20 most affordable cities in 2021

1. Derry, NI, 4.7, average house price £155,917, average salary £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

7. 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, NI, 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

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

=13. Belfast, NI, 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

London ranks the 8th most expensive city based on its average salary and house price

Top 20 least affordable cities in 2021

1. Winchester, South East, 14.0, £630,432, £45,059

2. Oxford, South East, 12.4, £486,928, £39,220

=3. Truro, South West, 12.1, £356,788, £29,558

=3. Bath, South West, 12.1, £476,470, £39,508

5. Chichester, South East, 10.6, £446,899, £37,352

6. Cambridge, East Anglia, 11.9, £482,300, £40,492

7. Brighton and Hove, South East, 11.6, £449,243, £38,737

8. London, South East, 11.0, £564,695, £51,257

=9. St Albans, South East, 10.2, £604,423, £59,391

=9. Chelmsford, South East, 10.2, £424,690, £41,781

11. Salisbury, South West, 10.0, £392,355, £39,154

12. Exeter, South West, 9.9, £323,554, £32,635

13. Leicester, East Midlands, 9.7, £279,080, £28,725

14. Norwich, East Anglia, 9.4, £306,946, £32,632

15. Bristol, South West, 9.3, £346,902, £37,357

=16. Southampton, South East, 9.0, £310,435, £34,429

=16. Canterbury, South East, 9.0, £365,168, £40,565

=16. Gloucester, South West, 9.0, £287,600, £31,987

19. Worcester, West Midlands, 8.8, £303,132, £34,389

20. Cardiff, Wales, 8.7, £276,851, £31,946

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