UK house prices even less affordable than last year

Emma Woollacott
London houses with sold sign
London houses with sold sign

British cities are even less affordable than it was this time last year, with Oxford once again named as the hardest place for people to afford a home.

New figures from Lloyds Bank show that the average property price in UK cities has risen by 7% in the last year, from £181,667 to £195,107. This means that affordability has fallen from 5.8 to 6.1 times gross average annual earnings - the second yearly fall in a row.

British cities are now, on average, as affordable as in 2009, but the figure's 15% better than its peak of 7.2 times earnings in 2008, at the height of the last housing market boom.

"House price rises in the past two years have resulted in a deterioration in home affordability in the majority of UK cities, and generally widening the north/south affordability divide as the market has been strongest in the south," says Lloyds Bank mortgages director Andy Hulme.

Once again, Oxford is the least affordable city in the UK, with an average house price of 11 times gross average earnings in the city, at £361,469.

Winchester and Cambridge follow close behind, both with a ratio of around 10, while the top five's rounded out by Chichester and Brighton and Hove, both with ratios of a lottle under 10.

Meanwhile, Greater London has average property prices 8.75 times average gross annual earnings - although there's big variation across the capital, with central boroughs much less affordable than the average.

Lichfield, York and Leicester are the least affordable cities outside southern England.

So where do local earnings go furthest towards buying a home?

Stirling, says Lloyds, may have become less affordable over the last year, but still tops the chart. The average property price, £158,645, is 3.9 times gross average annual earnings. Perhaps it's time to look north...

UK'S 15 least affordable cities, with price-to-local earning ratio
1.Oxford, South East, 10.89
2. Winchester, South East, 10.11
3. Cambridge, East Anglia, 9.76
4. Chichester, South East, 9.19
5. Brighton and Hove, South East, 9.10
6. Bath, South West, 8.83
7. Greater London, 8.75
8. Truro, South West, 8.61
9. Salisbury, South West, 8.43
10. Exeter, South West, 8.04
11. Southampton, South East, 7.55
12. Bristol, South West, 7.02
13. Lichfield, West Midlands, 6.95
14. Norwich, East Anglia, 6.88
15. Canterbury, South East, 6.85

UK'S 15 most affordable cities, with price-to-local earning ratio
1. Stirling, Scotland, 3.85
2. Londonderry, Northern Ireland, 3.92
3. Lancaster, North West, 4.03
4. Bradford, Yorkshire and the Humber, 4.17
5. Hereford, West Midlands, 4.42
6. Belfast, Northern Ireland, 4.49
7. Newry, Northern Ireland, 4.51
8. Salford, North West, 4.56
9. Lisburn, Northern Ireland, 4.63
10. Durham, North, 4.70
11. Stoke on Trent, West Midlands, 4.76
12. Sunderland, North, 4.78
13. Glasgow, Scotland, 4.81
14. Ely, East Anglia, 4.90
15. Hull, Yorkshire and the Humber, 4.96

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