Nearly two-thirds of the UK has become more affordable for home-buyers in the past year, a new study has found.
The analysis by Yorkshire Building Society looked at official wage and house price figures across local authorities found that homes have become more affordable in 64% of the country over the past 12 months.
The most affordable property is found in Burnley in Lancashire, where house prices are about three times the average local earnings.
The areas with the biggest improvements in housing affordability over the past year are South Buckinghamshire and Runnymede, both in the south-east of England, and Eden in the north-west.
Areas where housing affordability has particularly improved also include parts of London and the south-east of England, with areas such as South Buckinghamshire, Sevenoaks, Tower Hamlets, Watford and Canterbury seeing homes become more affordable relative to local wages.
However, London is still the most expensive place to buy with nine of the top 10 least affordable local authorities with the average house price-to-earnings ratio found in the nation’s capital.
Properties in Westminster, London cost nearly 20-and-a-half times average wages, making it the least affordable part of the country.
Despite improvements in affordability in many parts of the UK, some areas have seen a decline in house price affordability compared with wages. These include Copeland in north-west England, Blaenau Gwent in Wales, and the Shetland Islands in Scotland although many of these areas remain relatively affordable compared with some other parts of Britain.
Yorkshire Building Society’s strategic economist, Nitesh Patel, said: “House prices have grown by an average of 43% since 2009 – twice as fast as earnings (21%) in the same period.
“The difficulty in affording to buy a home is one reason why house sales have not picked up in the past year, even though some of the key drivers for the housing market remain positive.
“The longer term outlook for people wanting to buy a home remains to be seen.
“Demand for home ownership is still strong and supply is limited, so, over the short to medium term, house prices could increase faster than earnings.
“This may continue to cause issues for home-buyers, particularly those buying their first home.”
Top areas with the biggest improvements in housing affordability over the past year
1. South Buckinghamshire, South East
2. Runnymede, South East
3. Eden, North West
4. Sevenoaks, South East
5. Lewes, South East
5. Bracknell Forest, South East
7. Daventry, East Midlands
8. Tower Hamlets, London
9. Canterbury, South East
9. Watford, East of England
Top areas where housing affordability has worsened the most over the past year:
1. Copeland, North West
2. Blaenau Gwent, Wales
3. Shetland Islands, Scotland
4. Harborough, East Midlands
5. Pembrokeshire, Wales
6. North Devon, South West
6. Bridgend, Wales
8. North Kesteven, East Midlands
8. South Derbyshire, East Midlands
8. Forest Heath, East of England