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Our latest research has highlighted that the average house price across the UK is 6.05 times that of the average wage, with a gap of £6,111 between the current average wage and the wage required for a general mortgage approval of 4.5 times the salary.

The Research

We compared the latest Land Registry house price data with the recently updated Office for National Statistics wage data, to highlight where across the UK presents the biggest obstacle for aspiring homeowners both in terms of the wage to house price ratio and the reality gap between the average wage available and the wage required to secure a mortgage in each area.

The average property price was divided by the average wage to find the wage to property price ratio. We then worked out the mortgage deficit by deducting a 10% deposit from the average house price before dividing it by 4.5 – the general multiple of a salary required for mortgage approval. Finally, we calculated the difference between the average salary in an area and the salary required to purchase a property at the average house price for that area.

Download the Data

You can see the full data file for each UK region and the breakdown of top 10s and London, as well as data for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland here.

Regional Summary

Wage to House Price Ratio by Region and Country

House Price Ratio
House Price Ratio

As already mentioned, London is by far the worst with the South West (x9.55) surprisingly the second worst. The South East (x9.50) and the East of England x9.33) are more predictably the next largest gaps. The North East is the best despite the lower wage, with the average house price of £123,749 just 4.95 times more.

London is also home to the biggest gap between average wage and the wage required for mortgage approval at -£55,541, with the North East the only region with a positive difference at of £250.

The 10 Worst: Average Wage to Average Property Price – London (of course)

With the price of the London property market continuing to spiral out of control, it is no surprise that, with the exception of Purbeck in Dorset, the areas for the worst deficit are in London. It is by far the worst region of the UK with the average house price 12.05 times the average wage.

Hackney is the worst of the bunch with an average house price of £575,511, 17.03 times the average wage of £33,800. Brent (x16.37) and Haringey (x16.21) are also home to an average property price over 16 times that of the average wage for the area.

Waltham Forest (x15.69), Ealing (x14.77), Harrow (x14.73) and Barnet (x14.18) are the amongst the other worst offenders and Purbeck is the only non-London entry in the top 10 at 14.12 times the average wage.

Hammersmith and Fulham (x14.06) and Newham (x13.81) complete the top 10 worst.

Waltham Forest (x15.69), Ealing (x14.77), Harrow (x14.73) and Barnet (x14.18) are the amongst the other worst offenders and Purbeck is the only non-London entry in the top 10 at 14.12 times the average wage.

Hammersmith and Fulham (x14.06) and Newham (x13.81) complete the top 10 worst.

UK House Price

London

London Map

The 10 Worst: Average Wage to Average Property Price – Excluding London

Outside of the capital, the gap closes slightly, although the top ten are all home to a deficit of more than 12 times the average wage to house price.

After Purbeck, the worst area is Oxford with the average house price of £408,448 13.18 times the average salary of £31,000. South Bucks (x13.08), Hertsmere (x12.95), Three Rivers (x12.81), South Hames (x12.65), Broxbourne (x12.53), Christchurch (x12.47), Epsom and Ewell (x12.44) and Brighton and Hove (x12.43) complete the top 10 worst outside of London.

 

Average Property Price

The 10 Best: Average Wage to Average Property Price

At the other end of the table, the 10 best areas are home to an average house price under five times that of the average wage, although they are for the large part located in the North, Wales and Scotland – so not much hope for homeowners in the south.

 

Best Location

With an average house price of £80,605, just 3.43 times the average wage (£23,500), Burnley is home to the smallest gap between the cost of living and the available earnings on offer.

Easy Ayrshire (x3.66), Inverclyde (x3.67), Blaenau Gwent (x3.74), West Dunbartonshire (x3.76), North Ayrshire (x3.85), Copeland (x3.86), North Lanarkshire (x3.91), Rhondda Cynon Taf (x4.03), and County Durham (x4.04) complete the 10 best where the average wage and house price deficit is concerned.

The 10 Worst: Average Wage to Wage Required for Mortgage Approval

As well as looking at the wage to property price ratio, we also looked at the gap between the average earnings and the salary required to obtain a mortgage. Mortgage lenders generally only approve a mortgage to a value of 4.5 times the applicant’s salary – a cap imposed by the Bank of England due to concerns that borrowers would be unable to repay their mortgages due to stretching their finances. Once we obtained this figure, we deducted it from the average salary in each area to highlight where the best and worst areas were in terms of the deficit between the two.

property price ratio

As with the wage to property deficit the top 10 worst where the gap in earnings for mortgage requirements are all in London with the exception of one.

Despite having some of the largest wages on offer in the capital the high price of property in Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster and Camden means that the gap between the average wage on offer and the wage needed to secure a mortgage is over £100,000, -£162,086, -£131,126 and -£106,138 respectively.

Hammersmith and Fulham (-£99,476) and Hackney (-£81,302) are also home to some of the largest deficits in London and South Bucks is the only entry in the top 10 outside of the capital, with a gap of -£79,314 between the average wage and the wage required for a general mortgage approval.

Haringey (-£77,813), Richmond (-£74,924), Islington (-£74,530) and Wandsworth (-£71,190) complete the top 10.

The 10 Best: Average Wage to Wage Required for Mortgage Approval

UK House Price

Burnley again takes the top spot where financial requirements for a mortgage are concerned. The average wage of £23,500 is £7,379 more than the 4.5 times requirement (£16,121) on the average house price of £80,605.

All of the top 10 exceed the financial mortgage requirements by more than £4,000 but again, are for the large part in the North and Scotland. They are Copeland (£7,055), Inverclyde (£7,016), East Ayrshire (£6,262), West Dunbartonshire (£6,265), North Ayrshire (£5,819), Blaenau Gwent (£5,305), County Durham (£4,731) and Hartlepool (£4,700).

When London is thrown into the spotlight in terms of the unaffordability of its property market, many are quick to highlight that the wages on offer are higher in the capital. However, this research shows that despite this, the gap between what hopeful London buyers are earning and what they are having to pay for a property is still way out of kilter and climbing. Not only this, but the reality gap between the average wage and wage required for mortgage approval is a staggering. Of course, many of us buy with a partner or friend in order to get on the ladder, but even when sharing this burden there is still a considerable financial mountain to climb.

It also shows that elsewhere around the nation there is almost a direct correlation between what a property goes for and the earnings on offer. But regardless of where you live and what you earn, there has been a serious unbalance between the escalating price of property and the stagnating wages available to UK buyers. This really needs to be addressed to help current and future UK buyers get a foot on the ladder and continue climbing it

Russell Quirk

Founder & CEO, eMoov.co.uk

This Research In The Press

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