Where could you climb the housing ladder? The most and least affordable cities to buy a home in Britain revealed

  • The gap between city house prices and average salaries is the widest since 2007
  • House price to average annual earnings ratio is up from 5.8 in 2013 to 7.2 in 2018
  • The least affordable cities for homebuyers are Oxford, Chicester and Winchester
  • The most affordable cities include Londonderry, Stirling and Bradford 

The gap between house prices in Britain's major cities and average salaries is the widest since the financial crisis, new research has revealed.

Lloyds Bank found that the ratio of average house prices across 62 cities to average city earnings has reached 7.2, the highest level since 2007.


But while there are some cities in the UK where a home will cost more than 12 times the average salary in the location, in others it would only cost just under 4.5 times wages there.


The Top 10 Least Affordable UK Cities 2018 - with Oxford taking the top spot

Oxford has been named as the least affordable city if you're looking to buy a home

It highlights the extent of how challenging it has become to afford a home in some parts of the country, with the average value of a city property in Britain reaching &248,233, up from &180,548 five years ago.

In comparison, average annual earnings in cities rose by 11 per cent to &34,366, during the same period.

Average affordability in cities has worsened with house prices rising as a multiple of average annual earnings from 5.8 in 2013 to 7.2 in 2018. 


Lloyds's research pinpointed the places in the UK where it is particularly difficult for local people to afford a home and those where that is a more achievable aim, by comparing average full-time wages in that city with the average house price.


The ratio stretches into double figures for the top seven least affordable cities, which are Oxford, Chichester, Winchester, Truro, Greater London, Bath and Cambridge.

Top of the list published by Lloyds Bank is Oxford where the average house price stands at &460,184 - 12.6 times the annual gross average salary in the city.

In Chichester, a home costs 11.5 times average earnings, with the figure stretching to 11.3 in Winchester, 11.1 in Truro and 10.3 in Greater London.


Chichester, in West Sussex, is also among the least affordable places to buy a home

UK cities Region Price to earnings ratio
Oxford South East 12.6
Chichester South East 11.5
Winchester South East 11.3
Truro South West 11.1
Greater London Greater London 10.3
Bath South West 10.3
Cambridge East Anglia 10.3
Southampton South East 9.7
Brighton And Hove South East 9.6
Chelmsford South East 9.3
Bristol South West 9.1
Exeter South West 9.1
Leicester East Midlands 8.6
Salisbury South West 8.3
Norwich East Anglia 8.2
York Yorkshire and Humberside 8
Ely East Anglia 7.9
Canterbury South East 7.8
St Albans South East 7.8
Worcester West Midlands 7.7
UK cities average   7.2
UK average   7.2
Source: Lloyds Bank    

That stands in stark contrast to the most affordable locations Londonderry, in Northern Ireland, and Stirling, in Scotland, where a home costs 4.4 times average earnings.


They were followed by Newry, at 4.5 times wages, Bradford, in Yorkshire and Humberside, at 4.6 times and Lancaster, in the North West, at 4.7 times.


Londonderry in Northern Ireland has been named among the most affordable places to buy

UK cities Region Price to earnings ratio
Londonderry Northern Ireland 4.4
Stirling Scotland 4.4
Newry Northern Ireland 4.5
Bradford Yorkshire and Humberside 4.6
Lancaster North West 4.7
Belfast Northern Ireland 5
Aberdeen Scotland 5
Perth Scotland 5.1
Hereford West Midlands 5.1
Sunderland North 5.2
Carlisle North 5.3
Liverpool North West 5.4
Dundee Scotland 5.4
Swansea Wales 5.5
Glasgow Scotland 5.5
Stoke On Trent West Midlands 5.5
Durham North 5.5
Hull Yorkshire and Humberside 5.6
Inverness Scotland 5.8
Derby East Midlands 5.9
UK cities average   7.2
UK average   7.2
Source: Lloyds Bank   


A North/South divide is evident, with northern cities and Scottish cities making up the remainder of the most affordable cities - including Belfast in Northern Ireland, Aberdeen and Perth - both in Scotland, and Sunderland in the North. 

The only exception is Hereford, which is ranked ninth most affordable, Stoke on Trent, in 16th position and Derby, in 20th spot.

Andrew Mason, mortgage products director at Lloyds Bank, said: 'Buying a home in UK cities remains challenging, as average house prices are outpacing wage growth.


'However the market has seen the number of first-time buyers at a high and home owners are still attracted to cities across the UK, in spite of rising costs.


'In the past five years, more than half of northern cities have made the UK top 10 in house price growth, whereas over a longer period, southern cities dominate.


The least affordable places to buy a home also include Bath in Somerset 

Year Average UK city house price & Av full-time mean earnings & Price to earnings ratio
2008 182,467 28,879 6.3
2009 168,734 29,663 5.7
2010 173,427 29,851 5.8
2011 170,076 30,079 5.7
2012 171,745 30,643 5.6
2013 180,548 31,038 5.8
2014 194,374 31,443 6.2
2015 209,837 31,731 6.6
2016 225,238 32,483 6.9
2017 232,945 33,413 7
2018 248,233 34,366 7.2
Source: Lloyds Bank, 12 months to December, ONS     

Winchester in Hampshire has seen the biggest price rise of any city in the past decade

Winchester has seen the biggest price rise of any city in the past decade with a gain of 93 per cent, from &281,224 in 2008 to &541,891 in 2018, compared to an average of 35 per cent.


Chichester is second with a rise of 76 per cent followed by Greater London at 69 per cent, Cambridge at 66 per cent, St Albans at 64 per cent and Oxford at 59 per cent.


Truro in Cornwall is in the top 20 least affordable cities in Britain, according to Lloyds Bank

Nine of the 10 top performers since 2008 are in the South of England with the exceptions being Lichfield in the West Midlands and Cardiff in Wales, both at 54 per cent.


In the past five years, Chichester has recorded the highest house price growth with a rise of 62 per cent, from &277,654 in 2013 to &450,023 in 2018.


Cambridge has the second highest increase in average house prices at 61 per cent, followed by Newcastle upon Tyne at 56 per cent, Ely at 54 per cent and Lichfield at 52 per cent.

Stirling in Scotland is also among the most affordable places to buy, claims Lloyds Bank