House prices in UK cities are now less affordable than any time in the last 10 years

Emma Haslett
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Oxford is the UK's most unaffordable place to buy a house (Source: Getty)

Buying a house in UK cities has reached its least affordable in a decade, new research has shown, after the gap between house prices and average earnings widened further.

The average worker in must now spend seven times their earnings to buy a house in a city, figures by Lloyds Bank showed, up from 6.9 times last year.

Rather surprisingly, though, London was not the least affordable city in the UK: that accolade belonged to Oxford, where locals spend 11.5 times the average salary to buy a home.

Read more: Here's how much London house prices fell in November

That was followed by Cambridge, where the house price to earnings ratio is 10.5, and then Greater London, at 10.2.

The figures also revealed a north-south divide: while only two of the cities ranked among the 20 least affordable were north of the Watford Gap, the majority of the most affordable were in the West Midlands, North of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales.

Read more: These commuter hotspots are the top performers for house price growth

Least affordable cities Price to earnings ratio Most affordable cities Price to earnings ratio
1 Oxford 11.5 Stirling 4.0
2 Cambridge 10.5 Londonderry 4.1
3 Greater London 10.2 Bradford 4.5
4 Brighton And Hove 10.2 Lancaster 4.8
5 Bath 10.1 Durham 5.0
6 Winchester 10.0 Belfast 5.1
7 Truro 9.3 Sunderland 5.1
8 Exeter 9.3 Lisburn 5.1
9 Southampton 8.9 Dundee 5.4
10 Canterbury 8.9 Swansea 5.4
11 Bristol 8.8 Perth 5.4
12 Salisbury 8.8 Salford 5.5
13 St Albans 8.7 Hereford 5.5
14 Chichester 8.7 Liverpool 5.5
15 Norwich 8.3 Carlisle 5.5
16 Leicester 8.1 Glasgow 5.5
17 York 8.0 Hull 5.5
18 Gloucester 7.7 Newcastle Upon Tyne 5.7
19 Portsmouth 7.5 Preston 5.7
20 Chelmsford 7.3 Inverness 5.8

House price growth edges higher

The news came a day after figures showed UK house price growth showed a surprise rise last month, climbing 3.2 per cent, up from 2.6 per cent at the end of 2017.

Experts blamed "pent up demand".

"Pent up demand appears to have shot off like a coiled spring as soon as New Year was out of the way," said Lucy Pendleton, founder director of estate agents James Pendleton.

"Estate agents famously watch January like a hawk for signs of buyers and vendors flooding back into the market and kickstarting activity. That's exactly what they've done, causing prices to bunny hop up as buyers compete for stock."

Read more: House prices set to fall in London this year, according to Fitch

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