Revealed: the UK’s most affordable areas to live in 2022

Revealed: the UK’s most affordable areas to live in 2022

By Nic Hopkirk

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Looking to buy a home? Discover the most affordable towns and cities in the UK to snap up a property.

The average double-income household in the UK can expect to pay four times their combined salaries to buy a home at the UK national average house price of £263,000 in 2022.

That's an increase of 5% since 2021, as house prices grew at double the rate of wages between January 2021 and January 2022.

But there are still some areas where you can snap up a home for well under £100,000.

To discover the UK's most affordable areas to live, we looked at the combined earnings of two local buyers, based on the average salary for each local area, then the average local house price for that area.

Here's what we discovered.

The UK's most affordable areas to live in 2022

For the third year running, the town of Shildon in County Durham retains pole position as the most affordable town in the UK, with an average house price of £71,000. 

Just 13 miles outside of Durham and with plenty of affordable terraced housing, Shildon's a great place to step onto the property ladder or to buy a bigger home, as homeowners can expect to pay 1.1 times their combined earnings to purchase a property here.

Three-bed terraced house, Shildon, £55,000

Three-bed terraced house, Shildon, £55,000

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In fact, County Durham in general is great for buyers, as Ferryhill, Peterlee and Trimdon Station also feature in our top ten.

Two-earner households can expect to pay around 1.5 times their combined earnings to buy a home in these towns.

In Scotland, historic Ayrshire is the place to be if you’re looking for an affordable area.

Sevenson, Comnock, Girvan - and new entry to the charts, Irvine - all make our top ten.

Or, if you love the thought of living near to the glorious Lake District, Cumbria is also a solid bet when it comes to affordability. 

Cleator Moor, Egremont and Millom all round off our top ten affordable towns in Britain. 

Rural locations are proving to be popular destinations for those looking for affordable extra space and tranquillity, as home buyers continue their pandemic-fuelled ‘search for space’.

The UK's most affordable areas to live in 2022

TownLocal AuthorityAverage property valueCombined average salary of two local buyersPrice to earnings ratio
1ShildonCounty Durham£71,000£62,5001.14
2Cleator Moor Copeland£105,000£85,7001.23
3FerryhillCounty Durham £80,400£62,5001.29
4StevenstonNorth Ayrshire£88,800£68,0001.31
5CumnockEast Ayrshire£89,400£67,0001.34
6PeterleeCountry Durham£84,200£62,5001.35
8GirvanSouth Ayrshire£105,000£70,5001.49
9IrvineNorth Ayrshire £102,100£68,0001.50


The most affordable areas in the South East

In terms of affordability, the commuter market town of Dorking is the most improved affordable area in the South East. 

Here buyers can expect to pay £552,000 for an average property at a price to household earnings ratio of 7.0. 

Three-bed detached house, Dorking, £550,000

Three-bed detached house, Dorking, £550,000

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Or if you love the idea of a quiet life by the seaside, buyers in Dawlish in South Devon can expect to pay 5 times the average two-earner household salary for a property valued at £278,700.

The UK’s most affordable cities to live in 2022

The level of sales agreed in London so far this year is already higher than the number agreed in the first three months of 2021 - when the stamp duty holiday was at its height, demonstrating that demand for city centres is returning with gusto.

Demand for homes in Newcastle and Birmingham was also up 7% and 5% respectively in early 2022. 

But if you thought city centre living was beyond your reach, then think again. We’ve found clear pockets of affordability in all major UK cities.

In London, Barking and Dagenham and Bexley hold on to the top two spots for affordability, with Croydon and Tower Hamlets following up in joint third place.

Four-bed semi-detached house, Barking, £400,000

Four-bed semi-detached house, Barking, £400,000

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In the latter two boroughs, the average cost of a home is below 5.5 times the annual average salary for a combined double-income household. 

Unsurprisingly, Kensington and Chelsea and the City of Westminster remain some of the most expensive London boroughs, where buyers can expect to pay over ten times the average double-income salary to purchase a home. 

However, that’s still a 7% improvement on affordability in Kensington compared to last year, thanks to wages growing faster than house prices in the borough.

London's most affordable areas to live in 2022

London BoroughAverage property valueCombined average salary of two buyersPrice to earnings ratioYoY % change in affordability
Barking and Dagenham£336,900£69,3005.30-5%
Tower Hamlets£462,600£85,2005.43-1%


Most affordable UK cities to live in outside of London

Outside of the capital, Brierley Hill in Dudley is the most affordable Birmingham suburb, where the house price to earnings ratio is 3.2 for an average house price of £194,200. 

Three-bed semi detached house, Brierley Hill, £200,000

Three-bed semi detached house, Brierley Hill, £200,000

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In Newcastle, Wallsend tops the affordability list with a price-to-earnings ratio of 2.1 for a house price of £135,600.

Meanwhile in Greater Manchester, Leigh has become the most affordable town in the borough with an average price of £153,000. That’s a price to earnings ratio of 2.5, making it an enticing prospect for potential buyers, including hybrid workers tempted to try big city living outside of London. 

Grainne Gilmore, Head of Research at Zoopla, said: “The cost of living crisis has meant that affordability has been pushed to the forefront of buyers’ minds this year, more than ever. 

“Our affordability data helps buyers to make informed decisions about where their money may go further across Britain, especially those who may have hidden equity in their home. 

“Once again, we are seeing that many of the most affordable areas for potential home buyers are across Scotland and the North of England, which could be attractive to those still searching for the perfect post-pandemic family space.” 

How Zoopla can help

We have thousands of affordable properties for sale on Zoopla, from new-build homes to older properties with history.

Use our range of handy tools to find exactly what you’re after. Take our Advanced Search tool - it allows you to search for homes with specific features, such as 'thatched roof' or 'bifold doors'. 

And register with Zoopla for instant email alerts for your preferred types of property - you can save as many searches as you want.