Research reveals least affordable cities for homebuyers

Oxford named least affordable UK cityPic: Getty

Property prices throughout the UK are proving beyond many a house buyer, but according to new research, those looking for a step onto the ladder in Oxford are likely to have the toughest time.

In a report produced by Lloyds Bank, the university town was named as the least affordable city in the UK, with the average property costing a massive 11 times the average local wage.

Following closely behind were Winchester, Bath, Truro and Brighton completing the top five. Chichester in West Sussex, Salisbury, Cambridge and Southampton also featured in the top ten.

And while it may seem strange that the expensive City of Westminster came only seventh on the list, researchers insist that though property prices in the capital are the highest in the UK, so too is the earning power of those looking to live in the centre of London.

The report highlighted a noticeable north-south divide when it comes to affordability, with only one northern city making the top 20, York boasting house prices that are almost six times the average local wage.

At the opposite end of the spectrum were the likes of Durham, Glasgow, Lancaster, Bradford, Belfast, and Stirling, the most affordable UK city with an earnings to house price ratio of 3.3.

The survey found that city living in general has become less affordable over the last 12 months. Just one year ago, a house in Oxford cost 9.8 times the local wage, compared to the 11 times ratio of today. Across the country, the average home now costs £184,215, 5.8 times the average salary.

Marc Page, mortgages director at Lloyds Bank, said: "Over the last five to ten years, affordabiilty has marginally improved in most UK cities, as increases in earnings have kept up with house price rises during that time.

"The economic and lifestyle benefits often associated with residing in cities are continuing to drive demand, especially in the south of England."

What do you think? Is it worth paying a premium for the 'economic and lifestyle' benefits of city living, or have you been left priced out of the market? Leave your comments below...