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Get more bang for your buck - Zoopla reveals the most affordable areas for buyers in Britain

11th March 2021

  • Shildon, County Durham, retains its position as the most affordable town in Britain

  • Good news for buyers as many parts of Britain have seen positive shifts in their affordability including the picturesque towns of Cleator Moor (Cumbria), Malvern (Worcestershire) and and Bideford (North Devon). Commuter towns like Hoddesdon (Hertfordshire) and the Scottish town of Beith have also seen improvements

  • Looking at Britain’s three largest cities, Barking & Dagenham is the most affordable area in London, while in Manchester it’s Oldham, and Lozells takes the crown in Birmingham

 

The property market was central to last week’s Budget with the Chancellor announcing measures designed to improve affordability and unlock access to homeownership for more people. To coincide with this Zoopla, the UK’s most comprehensive property destination, has revealed the most affordable towns and cities for buyers in Britain, along with what areas of the country have seen the biggest improvements in their affordability. 

 

To calculate which areas are the most affordable, Zoopla analysed house price-to-earnings ratios, based on a two-earner household on the average salary for the local area.

 

Britain’s most affordable towns clustered around Scotland and the North West 

 

The top five most affordable towns in Britain are all clustered around Scotland and the North West. The quaint town of Shildon in County Durham takes the crown yet again, with an average house price of £59,468 and price to earnings ratio of 1.1. Ferryhill, also in County Durham, ranks in seventh place with a median house price of £72,264 and price to earnings ratio of 1.35, with lower house prices and the dominance of terraced housing driving affordability. 

 

In Scotland, towns in historic Ayrshire dominate with Kilbirnie and Cumnock ranking in third and fourth place respectively, and Stevenston, Irvine and Girvan all featuring in the top ten. Scotland’s affordability is linked to two key factors; strong earnings locally and more reasonably priced property, with average house prices in all of these towns below £65,000. 

 

Likewise, buyers in Cleator Moor and Egremont in Cumbria also benefit from high levels of affordability. With Cleator Moor located on the 190 miles Coast to Coast Walk that spans Northern England and Egremont located at the edge of the Lake District National Park, both areas have a lot to offer home hunters searching for a rural idyll. 

 

Improving affordability in pockets across Britain 

 

It’s good news for many buyers across Britain, with affordability improving in pockets across all regions. Affordability has improved the most in Cleator Moor and Egremont (which also feature in the top ten most affordable list). This is also the case in Whitehaven (average house price of £122,685 and price to earnings ratio of 1.48) and Millom (average house price of £121,565 and a price to earnings ratio of 1.47) in the North West. Earnings growth is underpinned by its robust manufacturing sector and the Sellafield nuclear power station, a major employer in the area. 

 

For those on the hunt for a property near an Area of Outstanding Beauty, but at a more affordable price, the spa town of Malvern, located at the foot of the spectacular Malvern Hills has also seen an increase in its affordability. Average house prices stand at £265,710, while the price to earnings ratio is 3.73, down from 4.14.

 

In Southern England, Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire has seen the biggest improvement in affordability with average house prices of £396,623 and a price to earnings ratio of 5.13. With substantially lower house prices than London and direct trains to London Liverpool Street in just 40 minutes, Hoddesdon could be an attractive location for commuters looking to get more for their money. Nearby Waltham Cross has also seen improvements in affordability and is slightly more expensive with average house prices of £408,358 and a price to earnings ratio of 5.28, down from 5.70.

 

Areas in North Devon also feature strongly, with Bideford and Torrington both featuring in the top ten list for improved affordability. For those looking for a home near the coast, the historic harbour town of Bideford could be an attractive option with its independent shops and picturesque quay. The town has an average house price of £238,116 and price to earnings ratio of 5.28.

 

City affordability 

 

Although city locations are often associated with higher house prices, Britain’s largest cities all have areas with greater affordability. In London, the house price to earnings ratio is most favourable in Barking and Dagenham (5.4), Bexley (5.5) and Tower Hamlets (5.68). In these boroughs, the average cost of a home is below 5.7 times the annual salary for a two-earner household’s average salary, making these boroughs among some of the most affordable in London. 

 

In Greater Manchester, Coldhurst in Oldham is the most affordable, with average house prices of £104,416, and a price to earnings ratio of 2.01, while Lozells is the most affordable area in Birmingham. The average house price in the area is £141,431, while there’s a price to earnings ratio of 2.5.

 

Grainne Gilmore, Head of Research at Zoopla, said: “This data shows where buyers can benefit from some of the most affordable markets across the country, especially movers who have built up some equity in their current home. Capital values in the north of England and Scotland are relatively lower than in the South of England, meaning that many of the most affordable areas are clustered in these regions”. 



-ENDS-



 

Properties for sale

 

3 bed end terrace house for sale

Cumnock, East Ayrshire

Available on Zoopla for £70,000




2 bed semi-detached house for sale

Lozells, Birmingham

Available on Zoopla for £170,000




2 bed end terrace house for sale

Shildon, County Durham

Available on Zoopla for £55,000




3 bed end terrace house for sale

Cleator Moor, Cumbria

Available on Zoopla for £79,950



3 bed end terrace house for sale

Torrington, Devon

Available on Zoopla for £180,000



Most affordable towns 



Rank

Postal town

Local Authority

Region

Gross annual household earnings

Median house prices

Price to earnings ratio

Annual home mover mortgage repayment (£)*

Mortgage payment as % of annual home movers household income*

1

Shildon

Durham (County)

North East

£ 53,446

£ 59,468

1.11

£ 2,006

5%

2

Cleator Moor

Copeland

North West

£ 82,924

£ 96,269

1.16

£ 3,247

5%

3

Kilbirnie

North Ayrshire

Scotland

£ 62,338

£ 76,303

1.22

£ 2,573

6%

4

Cumnock

East Ayrshire

Scotland

£ 61,859

£ 77,414

1.25

£ 2,611

6%

5

Egremont

Copeland

North West

£ 82,924

£ 80,694

1.29

£ 3,601

6%

6

Stevenston

North Ayrshire

Scotland

£ 62,338

£ 106,771

1.29

£ 2,721

6%

7

Ferryhill

Durham (County)

North East

£ 53,446

£ 72,264

1.35

£ 2,437

6%

8

Ferndale

Rhondda Cynon Taf

Wales

£ 55,297

£ 77,421

1.40

£ 2,611

6%

9

Irvine

North Ayrshire

Scotland

£ 62,338

£ 87,478

1.40

£ 2,950

6%

10

Girvan

South Ayrshire

Scotland

£ 63,102

£ 88,587

1.40

£ 2,988

6%



Towns with the biggest increase in affordability

 

Rank

Postal town

Local Authority

Region

Gross annual household earnings

Median house prices

Price to earnings ratio

Change in house price to earnings ratio since 2019

Annual home mover mortgage repayment (£)*

Mortgage payment as % of annual home movers household income*

1

Cleator Moor

Copeland

North West

£ 82,924

£ 96,269

1.16

-12%

£ 3,247

5%

2

Whitehaven

Copeland

North West

£ 82,924

£ 122,685

1.48

-10%

£ 4,138

7%

3

Malvern

Malvern Hills

West Midlands

£ 71,193

£ 265,710

3.73

-10%

£ 8,961

17%

4

Egremont

Copeland

North West

£ 82,924

£ 106,771

1.29

-9%

£ 3,601

6%

5

Beith

North Ayrshire

Scotland

£ 62,338

£ 119,281

1.91

-9%

£ 4,023

9%

6

Millom

Copeland

North West

£ 82,924

£ 121,565

1.47

-8%

£ 4,100

7%

7

Hoddesdon

Broxbourne

East of England

£ 77,314

£ 396,623

5.13

-8%

£ 13,376

23%

8

Bideford

Torridge

South West

£ 61,734

£ 238,116

3.86

-8%

£ 8,030

17%

9

Torrington

Torridge

South West

£ 61,734

£ 222,837

3.61

-7%

£ 7,515

16%

10

Waltham Cross

Broxbourne

East of England

£ 77,314

£ 408,358

5.28

-7%

£ 13,772

24%

 

Most affordable boroughs in London 

 

 

Rank

Local Authority

Gross annual household earnings

Median house prices

Price to earnings ratio

Annual home mover mortgage repayment (£)*

Mortgage payment as % of annual home movers household income*

 

1

Barking and Dagenham

£ 63,242

£ 341,432

5.40

£ 11,515

24%

 

2

Bexley

£ 75,962

£ 417,577

5.50

£ 14,083

25%

 

3

Tower Hamlets

£ 81,323

£ 462,040

5.68

£ 15,582

26%

 

4

Greenwich

£ 71,531

£ 409,965

5.73

£ 13,826

26%

 

5

Havering

£ 71,640

£ 410,721

5.73

£ 13,851

26%

 

*Methodology 

 

In this analysis we’re exploring two measures of affordability:

 

  1. Price to earnings ratio - comparing the median house price (Zoopla House Price estimates Dec 2020) to average household earnings (the latest local-level ASHE data, April 2020, assuming 2 earners representing both genders). 75% of owners with mortgages are couples with or without children.

 

  1. The Mortgage Repayments - this metric focuses on the annual repayments based on a 35% deposit and assumptions listed below.

 

  • Although these measures are good indicators of affordability, the lenders requirement to test LTI and stress rates may affect buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage.

  • Only the 1000 largest towns in Britain are considered.

  • Assumptions: Gross annual household earnings - 2 earners gross earnings, adding up female and male median full-time earnings. Mortgage terms for Home movers: Mortgage rate 2.11%, term: 25 years, LTV: 65%

 

- Ends -

For further information, please contact PR Team on pr@zoopla.co.uk or +44 (0)20 3873 8770.

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