Over half of UK properties are situated in areas that First-Time Buyers (FTBs) deem affordable, according to an annual study on housing affordability by Post Office Money.

The study found that 56 per cent of homes are in these areas, based on data sourced from over 80 locations across the country, which was collected by the Office for National Statistics.

The findings come as a number of indices reported that UK house prices have remained flat over the last six months, including a House Price Index for August, by Halifax.

Mortgages for Business – MPU

This slow price growth was echoed in this new survey, as UK homes had an average price of £282,713 across the country, having grown by 0.9 per cent in the last year, according to the study.

Prices exceed incomes for first-time buyers

Average UK house prices were estimated to cost 5.85 times the average FTB’s income nationwide, with Blackpool and Southampton listed as some of the most affordable places in the UK, as well as the Greater Manchester towns of Wigan and Oldham.

In Blackpool, an FTB could expect to find average prices in the region of £110,000, while the average FTB in the North West region as a whole was estimated to earn an average income of £40,000. This makes almost every property in Blackpool affordable for them, Post Office Money claimed.

By contrast, FTB buyers in Warwick would be unlikely to find any properties affordable at all, despite earning a similar income of £41,796. This is because average house prices in Warwick are £305,000 and have risen in value by 5 per cent in the last year alone.

Worcester and Leeds were both given affordability ratings of 50 per cent, as earners in both cities were likely to be earning £38,665 to £41,796 each, in cities where house prices were worth an average of £177,000 to £197,500 respectively.

Commuter towns out of reach for many

Commuter hubs were found to be increasingly unaffordable for FTBs, especially in the South of England, including Cambridge, Woking and Surrey. Despite this, Reading made an exception, as the study recorded a 6 per cent increase in properties deemed affordable to FTBs, due to rising wages and low prices in specific parts of the town.

Ross Hunter, product director in retail banking at Post Office Money, commented: “While we have seen house price growth slow in the last year, properties can still seem particularly unaffordable for FTBs. We know that saving for a deposit remains a significant hurdle for young buyers to overcome, in order to achieve their homeownership aspirations.”

Mr Hunter concluded: “While we may be seeing the first indications of a ‘buyers’ market’, we still know that saving for and ultimately purchasing a home is a difficult process. Finding areas which are most affordable, in cities local to you, is key to making a personal plan of action.”

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Peter Adams
Peter reports for Property Notify about how political developments have a direct impact on the UK housing market. He does this, through his reporting on topics such as Brexit, government policy and the various political arguments that surround housing.

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