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These Are the Most Affordable UK Cities for Buying a Home in 2021

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Londonderry, in Northern Ireland was found to be the most affordable U.K. city for buying a home in 2021, according to an analysis by British bank Halifax. 

Londonderry topped Halifax's annual ranking of most affordable U.K. cities for the third year in a row, with an average house price of £155,917 ($215,632), and people in the city earning £33,138 a year on average. Halifax worked out that this meant the typical house cost 4.7 times the average salary of the city's residents, known as a price-to-earnings ratio.

Halifax used figures from its own database of house prices, as well as data on pay from the Office for National Statistics to calculate the price-to-earnings ratio for 61 U.K. cities, for the 12 months to June 2021. 

Winchester was found to be the least affordable U.K. city for buying a home this past year. The southern city, which was England's first capital, had an average house price of £630,432 and a typical salary of £45,059, equating to a price-to-earnings ratio of 14 times. 

It knocked Oxford off the top spot in 2021, which fell to second place, with a home typically costing 12.4 times the average salary in the city. 

On average across all 61 U.K. cities ranked by Halifax, the bank said a home now typically costs 8.1 times the average salary, with a standard house price of £287,400 and mean annual earnings of £35,677. The gap between house prices and earnings has continued to grow in the past decade, with an average price-to-earnings ratio of 5.6 times in 2011, for comparison. 

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said that rising house prices have continued to outstrip growth in pay, "which reduces overall affordability, however the picture is mixed for buyers." 

"For city home-movers who want to stay in their area, the level of equity in their current property is likely to be an important factor in how affordable the local area is for them, whereas raising a deposit remains an issue for many first-time buyers," he said. 

Equity in property refers to the difference between the value in the property and how much the home owner owes on their mortgage loan. 

However, Galley pointed out that some cities like Carlisle, in the northwest of England, had seen housing affordability improve this past year. 

Here's the rundown of the top 10 most and least affordable U.K. cities in 2021. 

Top 10 most affordable UK cities

1. Londonderry

  • Average house price: £155,917
  • Average annual earnings: £33,138
  • Price-to-earnings ratio: 4.7 times 

2. Carlisle

  • Average house price: £163,232
  • Average annual earnings: £34,087
  • Price-to-earnings ratio: 4.8 times 

3. Bradford

  • Average house price: £164,410
  • Average annual earnings: £34,219
  • Price-to-earnings ratio: 4.8 times 

4. Stirling

  • Average house price: £208,927
  • Average annual earnings: £38,744
  • Price-to-earnings ratio: 5.4 times 

5. Aberdeen

  • Average house price: £205,199
  • Average annual earnings: £38,016
  • Price-to-earnings ratio: 5.4 times 

6. Glasgow

  • Average house price: £196,625
  • Average annual earnings: £36,205
  • Price-to-earnings ratio: 5.4 times 

7. Perth

  • Average house price: £203,229
  • Average annual earnings: £36,700
  • Price-to-earnings ratio: 5.5 times 

8. Inverness

  • Average house price: £191,840
  • Average annual earnings: £34,373
  • Price-to-earnings ratio: 5.6 times 

9. Hull

  • Average house price: £156,424
  • Average annual earnings: £27,730
  • Price-to-earnings ratio: 5.6 times

10. Dundee

  • Average house price: £181,150
  • Average annual earnings: £31,344
  • Price-to-earnings ratio: 5.8 times

Top 10 least affordable UK cities

1. Winchester

  • Average house price: £630,432
  • Average annual earnings: £45,059
  • Price-to-earnings ratio: 14 times 

2. Oxford

  • Average house price: £486,928
  • Average annual earnings: £39,220
  • Price-to-earnings ratio: 12.4 times 

3. Truro

  • Average house price: £356,788
  • Average annual earnings: £29,558
  • Price-to-earnings ratio: 12.1 times 

4. Bath

  • Average house price: £476,470
  • Average annual earnings: £39,508
  • Price-to-earnings ratio: 12.1 times 

5. Chichester

  • Average house price: £446,899
  • Average annual earnings: £37,352
  • Price-to-earnings ratio: 10.6 times 

6. Cambridge

  • Average house price: £482,300
  • Average annual earnings: £40,492
  • Price-to-earnings ratio: 11.9 times 

7. Brighton and Hove

  • Average house price: £449,243
  • Average annual earnings: £38,737
  • Price-to-earnings ratio: 11.6 times 

8. Greater London

  • Average house price: £564,695
  • Average annual earnings: £51,257
  • Price-to-earnings ratio: 11 times 

9. St. Albans

  • Average house price: £604,423
  • Average annual earnings: £59,391
  • Price-to-earnings ratio: 10.2 times 

10. Chelmsford

  • Average house price: £424,690
  • Average annual earnings: £41,781
  • Price-to-earnings ratio: 10.2 times

Halifax also looked at which U.K. cities had seen the biggest house price growth over the last 10 years. Gloucester, in the southwest of England, had seen the biggest growth, with the average house price jumping 101% to £287,600 in 2021 from £143,365 in 2011. 

Greater London house prices saw the second biggest growth over the last decade, climbing 98% to £564,695 in 2021 from 284,940 in 2011. 

The average house price in the U.K. cities had grown by 71% since 2011, to £287,440 in 2021 from £168,443.

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