UK's least-affordable cities for young people revealed

New graduates would be advised to head for Belfast if they want a comfortable place to live: it's the most affordable place for young people to buy their first home, new research shows.

At the other end of the scale, Brighton is the least-affordable city in the UK for young people, with only 0.3 percent of homes within financial reach of first-time buyers on local entry-level incomes.

The study, from jobs search engine Adzuna, linked average entry-level salaries for the top 50 cities in the UK with property asking prices and typical mortgage multiples for first time buyers. The researchers found that it's far harder for graduates to live in the south, with only three percent of homes in Chichester, Guildford and Southampton falling within a first-time buyer's budget.

Perhaps surprisingly, London is only the eighth-worst city on the list to buy, largely because graduate salaries are higher here. It's a different matter when it comes to renting, though, with only two percent of properties within budget. "The average rent per bedroom is a thousand pounds for a two-bedroom flat," says Adzuna head of research Flora Lowther. "The rental market you see in London is a lot more expensive than it is as a buyer's market."

As for Brighton, first-time buyers will have a particularly hard time finding a place they can afford. According to Rightmove, house prices in the city have risen by four percent over the last year. "I think it's a very strong market down here, and demand sets the prices," says a spokeswoman for local estate agent Cubitt & West. "It's a cool place to live."

While Rightmove data shows that house prices in the UK have risen by around 4.5 percent over the last year, this figure masks some big differences. While asking prices in London are up 8.2 percent on last year, it says, they fell 1.3 percent in Yorkshire and Humberside.

"It's becoming very clear that although unemployment levels are dropping in the UK, companies are keeping a lid on salaries - particularly for entry level jobs," says Crowther. "Graduates should arm themselves with job and property market data when considering their first career move."

Top 10 least affordable cities to buy

Brighton 0.3% of homes within budget
Chichester 0.6%
Guildford 0.7%
Southampton 0.9%
High Wycombe 1.0%
Exeter 1.1%
Winchester 2.1%
London 2.4%
Luton 2.4%
Chelmsford 2.6%

Top 10 most affordable cities to buy

Belfast 30% of homes within budget
Hull 21%
Glasgow 20%
Sunderland 18%
Manchester 18%
Middlesborough 17%
Salford 17%
Durham 17%
Liverpool 16%
Rochdale 14%