Houses in cities at their least affordable in eight years, report finds

The affordability of a home across the UK's cities has reached its worst level in eight years, a report has found.

Lloyds Bank's affordability ratio, which compares average city house prices with average gross local earnings, found that the average city property now costs 6.6 times earnings, up from a multiple of 6.2 a year ago.

The report found the average UK city house price has risen by 8% from £196,229 in 2015 to a record level of £211,880 in 2016.

There is also a growing North-South divide in the affordability of a home, with St Albans, Bath, Truro, Exeter, Oxford and Cambridge all among the least affordable cities.

A home in Oxford, Winchester or London costs over 10 times the average local wage. Outside the South, York is among the least affordable cities, with a property there costing 7.5 times earnings.

All of the 20 most affordable cities for home buyers are outside of southern England, with Londonderry, Northern Ireland, named as the most affordable, with the average home there costing less than four times average wages.

Lloyds used official earnings figures and house prices from Halifax's database to make the findings.

It said the affordability of a home in UK cities is on average now at its worst level since the average house price-to-earnings ratio increased to 7.2 at the height of the last housing market boom in 2008.

Andrew Mason, Lloyds Bank mortgage products director, said: "House price rises in the past three years have risen more steeply than average wage growth, making it more expensive to buy a home in the majority of UK cities.

"This has also widened the North-South divide, as house prices in the South have generally seen stronger growth than in the North."

Here are the 15 least affordable UK cities, according to Lloyds Bank, with the house price-to-earnings ratio:

1. Oxford, South East, 10.68

2. Winchester, South East, 10.54

3. Greater London, 10.06

4. Cambridge, East Anglia, 9.90

5. Bath, South West, 9.77

6. Brighton and Hove, South East, 9.60

7. Truro, South West, 9.11

8. St Albans, South East, 8.66

9. Chichester, South East, 8.58

10. Exeter, South West, 8.36

11. Southampton, South East, 8.33

12. Salisbury, South West, 8.12

13. Bristol, South West, 7.80

14. Lichfield, West Midlands, 7.53

15. York, Yorkshire and the Humber, 7.50

And here are the 15 most affordable UK cities, according to Lloyds Bank, with the house price-to-earnings ratio:

1. Londonderry, Northern Ireland, 3.81

2. Stirling, Scotland, 4.11

3. Bradford, Yorkshire and the Humber, 4.31

4. Belfast, Northern Ireland, 4.42

5. Hereford, West Midlands, 4.55

6. Lisburn, Northern Ireland, 4.64

7. Durham, North, 4.73

8. Lancaster, North West, 4.89

9. Carlisle, North, 5.03

10. Glasgow, Scotland, 5.07

11. Hull, Yorkshire and the Humber, 5.11

12. Liverpool, North West, 5.23

13. Perth, Scotland, 5.24

=14. Sunderland, North, 5.28

=14. Swansea, Wales, 5.28