Major changes in British housing affordability since economic downturn

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 13th September 2017, 11:58 am
Updated Wednesday, 13th September 2017, 1:04 pm

The gap between the least and most affordable parts of Britain has almost doubled since the start of the economic downturn, new Yorkshire Building Society research shows.However, homes in 54% of local authority areas – including Edinburgh, Birmingham, Peterborough, Leeds and Harrogate - are more affordable now than they were before the financial crash due to wages increasing at a higher rate than property values over this period.This is in contrast with London and most of the south of England, which are now far less affordable as house price rises have outstripped wage growth at a far higher rate.Andrew McPhillips, Yorkshire Building Society Chief Economist, said:“Unsurprisingly, the data shows that there is a distinct divide between the north and south of the country when it comes to housing affordability, but this has become even more pronounced since the financial crash.“Across London and large swathes of southern England, which were already some of the most unaffordable parts of the country, it has become increasingly difficult for first-time buyers and those wanting to move up the housing ladder to be able to buy their first or next home.“However, the north of England, Wales and Scotland present a different picture entirely, with many places, such as Edinburgh, Peterborough and Birmingham, becoming more affordable than they were before the credit crunch.“While some northern cities, such as Manchester, are less affordable than they were in 2007, in much of the north of England, Scotland and Wales, the gap between earnings and house prices is around a third of the average for London.”How affordability has been calculatedYorkshire Building Society analysed 10 years’ of Office of National Statistics earnings data and Land Registry house price data for 32 London boroughs and 324 local authorities across England, Scotland and Wales to create calculations of average house price to earnings ratios.At a national level, since September 2007 affordability has improved by 0.6% in Britain overall, by 18.9% in Scotland, 17.2% in Wales but has worsened by 3.3% in England.

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