The hardest place to buy a home - it's not where you think

'The Radcliffe Camera and All Souls College in Oxford, UK'
'The Radcliffe Camera and All Souls College in Oxford, UK'

London is not the hardest place to buy a home. It's certainly the priciest, but because Londoners are paid more than anyone else in the country, a new study has shown that there's another city where affording a property is far harder - and that's Oxford.

Analysis by job search engine looked at average house prices in the top 50 cities in the UK, and calculated the average local salary by looking through more than 1 million job adverts.

It identified Oxford as the hardest place to buy - knocking Brighton off the top spot. Oxford has seen prices rise an astonishing 19% in the past two years, while average local salaries rose 2.9%.

It's therefore easy to see how local people are struggling. A typical home in Oxford now sells for 8.27 times the average Oxford couple's earnings - at more than £500,000, and only 5.78% of properties are considered within budget.


London also fared poorly, and has become even less affordable in the past year, as property prices are up 17% and advertised wages have fallen 2.9%. It means that only 7.84% of properties are within budget, for the average couple - and that the average property costs 9.97 times an average couple's earnings.

Doug Monro, Co-Founder of Adzuna, said: "Despite government schemes like 'Help to Buy' really taking off, it's clear that many parts of the country are on the verge of an affordability crisis."

Other areas where fewer than 15% of homes are within budget include Guildford (where the average home costs 10.23 times the average couple's income), Winchester, High Wycombe, Brighton, Reading, Chelmsford and Cambridge.

At the other end of the spectrum, Bradford and Hull were the most affordable, The study found that 72% of properties in Bradford were within financial reach for a typical couple on an average local income, and that the average home costs just 2.45 times the average couple's salary. In Hull, 70% of properties are within reach, and a property costs 2.52 times salary.

Other cities where at least 60% of properties were considered affordable for locals included Sunderland, Salford, Liverpool, Manchester, and Durham.

The North/South divide should perhaps come as no real surprise. Many of the cities falling into the least affordable camp are those within striking distance of London. As a result, they have seen prices pushed up by commuters who have had their budgets boosted by London property price rises. The cities in the North, meanwhile, continue to be priced for the locals who are intending to buy them.

Luxury Aston Martin lifted onto skyscraper roof
Luxury Aston Martin lifted onto skyscraper roof