The gap between the most and least affordable places to buy a house in the UK has doubled since the financial crisis

 
Emma Haslett
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A Tour Of The Set Of Harry Potter
Affordability has fallen the most in Three Rivers, the area around Warner Brothers Studios (Source: Getty)

The gap between the most and least affordable places to buy a home in the UK has widened to record proportions since the financial crisis - although some parts of the country have become cheaper than they were before 2007.

A study by the Yorkshire Building Society suggests that while homes in some parts of the UK, including some of its biggest cities, have become as much as 42 per cent more affordable; in others affordability has dropped by more than 60 per cent.

Scotland and the North West dominated the areas where homes have become more affordable: Inverclyde topped the list, with the average house price dropping 42.5 per cent to £104,638 since the crisis began in 2007. That was followed by North Ayshire, with a 37.2 per cent drop, and West Dunbartonshire, with a 34.9 per cent drop - although Burnley, Hyndburn and Hartlepool were all in the top 10.

By contrast, affordability has fallen by 61 per cent in Three Rivers, the area around the Warner Brothers studios in Leavesden, where the average house price is now £519,922 - that's 15.83 times locals' salaries. The London borough of Haringey came second, after a 60.2 per cent rise in prices, while Westminster came third, with a 55.9 per cent rise. Southwark, Waltham Forest and Hackney were also named.

Read more: London house price growth fell again in July

House price affordability: The winners

Area Change in affordability House price to earnings ratio Current house price House price in 2007
Inverclyde 42.5% 3.67 £104,638 £122,209
North Ayrshire 37.2% 3.55 £98,795 £115,282
West Dunbartonshire 34.9% 3.44 £95,074 £109,128
Burnley 34.2% 3.15 £77,629 £94,174
Hyndburn 33.0% 3.92 £92,753 £105,096
Hartlepool 31.9% 3.99 £105,866 £126,699
East Ayrshire 31.8% 3.1 £91,024 £107,124
Middlesbrough 31.3% 4.35 £111,156 £126,857
Wyre 30.5% 5.76 £148,358 £164,295
Sunderland 30.1% 4.32 £111,021 £126,829

... and the losers

Area Change in affordability House price to earnings ratio Current house price House price in 2007
Three Rivers -61.0% 15.83 £519,922 £332,891
Haringey -60.2% 17.51 £554,910 £318,233
Westminster -55.9% 24.06 £1,034,073 £539,759
Southwark -55.1% 15.19 £524,800 £296,194
Waltham Forest -54.5% 13.57 £427,113 £242,826
Hackney -53.8% 16.81 £549,680 £302,432
Elmbridge -50.3% 15.12 £586,134 £397,237
Hertsmere -49.7% 15.09 £467,355 £293,145
Sevenoaks -47.8% 13.3 £420,296 £292,325
Camden -44.1% 19.94 £809,408 £485,507

Falling transactions

Estate agents have blamed a drop in the number of homes being bought and sold in the UK on plummeting affordability.

Yesterday official figures from the Land Registry showed the volume of housing transactions taking place fell 0.6 per cent in May, while agents complained over the summer that the number of homes being put up for sale had fallen to its lowest figure for any July since records began.

Meanwhile, research by online property portal Zoopla found more than a third of properties put up for sale in the capital have had their prices cut, as sellers struggle to shift increasingly pricey homes.

Read more: Mapped: House price changes in every London borough since the Brexit vote

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