Finding the right house can seem like a never-ending quest. There are so many practical factors to consider, as well as your own priorities list. Do you want a double garage? Is a small garden the deal breaker? It can be tricky to find everything you want and stay within the limits of your budget.
It’s something that has been talked about a lot in recent years – house prices are going up but wages are staying the same. The average price for a city property rose by 10.3% in 2021, whereas average earnings only went up by 2.1%. The growing gap means that many people struggle to find a house in an area they can comfortably afford.
Despite the bleak outlook, the property market isn’t the same all over the country. Not only do temperatures drop as you travel further North, but the house prices do too. There are a number of reasons for this, such as higher demand for housing down south. Limited supply but high demand is also one of the quickest ways to push up property prices.
This article will tell you which cities in the UK offer the most affordable housing. Whether you’re looking to move or just want a comparison, we’ll let you know the average house prices in these cities and more information about the area.
Top 9 most affordable UK cities to buy a home
Below is a list of the most affordable areas to buy a home in the UK, based on the ratio between the average house price and the average annual salary in each city.
Kingston upon Hull
Kingston upon Hull, or Hull as it’s more widely known, is the most affordable place to live in the UK, thanks to its low house price to earnings ratio.
The average house price in Hull is £124,000, which is the cheapest average on this list. However, like many towns and cities in the UK, Hull has also seen a rise in the housing market prices. This price is a £4,000 increase from an average of £120,000 in the year endings 2020 and 2021.
Locals earn around £28,219 per annum in the city. Despite the £4,000 increase in the average price of a house in Hull, the average salary only increased by £233 between the year ending 2020 and the year ending 2021. Despite this uneven rise in property prices and decrease in salaries, Hull is considered to have the lowest and, therefore, the most affordable ratio between the two.
Hull is the fourth largest city in Yorkshire and has a rich maritime history. Popular visitor attractions include the Wilburforce House, which acts as a museum for the abolition of the slave trade.
Hull was designated UK City of Culture in 2017, which resulted in more than £1 billion being invested in the city. £110 million of this was invested in local venues and hotels. The multiple museums and historic buildings give tourists and locals a sense of what it would have been like in Yorkshire hundreds of years ago.
The port city of Sunderland is located within the Metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear. At £26,613, the median salary in the city is one of the lowest on this list. This was a decrease of over £1,700 from £28,376 between the year ending 2020 and the year ending 2021.
The city’s average house price is £132,000, which is an increase of £5,500 from the average house price in the year ending 2021. Despite this increase, Sunderland still remains one of the most affordable places to purchase a house in the UK.
Historically, ships, coal and salt were Sunderland’s biggest exports. In 2022, the city is known for its city centre, where 50% of the space consists of greenery.
Recently, the city has become more well-known for its electronic, chemical and paper industries. Sunderland is also home to the UK’s largest car factory, Nissan Sunderland. The plant employs 6,000 people within the city. A further 27,000 employees are employed for its automotive supply chain, three-quarters of which are employed in North East England.
This maritime city is famous for many things, particularly for being the World Captial City of Pop and its two premier league football sides. Liverpool was also a key port for trade and migration between the 18th and 20th centuries.
On average, a house in the city costs £155,000. This is a rise of £25,000 from the average £130,000 price for a house in the year ending 2021. Whilst this is slightly pricier than other locations on this list, locals earn an average annual salary of £30,718, which makes it more affordable.
The average salary per annum decreased by over £800 between the year ending 2020 and the year ending 2021. However, it has increased for the previous three years prior to 2021.
In the latest English Indices of Deprivation, Liverpool was ranked as having England’s second most deprived local authority. This score is based on the average level of deprivation in local neighbourhoods within the larger area.
Houses in Derby sell for an average of £184,950, which is the most expensive house price on this list. However, Derby has an equally high average annual salary of £36,422, which makes the city the fourth most affordable city to buy a house in the UK.
Between 2001 and 2011, the city’s population grew by more than 12%. As of 2022, Derby has a population size of over 266,000. The population is expected to grow further thanks to the thriving industries and culture of the city.
The city lies on the River Derwent in Derbyshire. Derby is famous for triggering Britain’s industrial revolution as it opened some of the country’s first spinning mills and factories. The city is now famous for its craft beer and has become the first city in Europe to utilise Augmented Reality with its Made in Derby information app.
Nicknamed ‘the great border city’, Carlisle lies between England and Scotland. The 2,000-year-old city currently has an average house price of £150,00. The average house price in Carlisle increased by £5,000 from £145,000.
Citizens of the city earn an average annual salary of £27,711. The average salary in the city has increased for five years in a row from 2015 to 2020, but there was a decrease of £1,423 between the year ending 2020 and the year ending 2021.
With two Areas of Outstanding Beauty and one World Heritage site, Carlisle is not only one of the cheapest places to live but also one of the most distinctive. Notable sites to visit are Hadrian’s Wall and Carlisle Castle.
The history of Carlisle can be traced back to the Roman Empire. A settlement was established to help the forts serving along Hadrian’s Wall. However, Carlisle isn’t the only city on this list to belong to ‘Hadrian’s Wall Country’. The ancient structure also passes through Newcastle to the east.
Preston is located in the heart of Lancashire in the north of England. In 2021, Preston was named the best city to live in work by the Demos-PwC Good Growth for Cities Index.
The annual earnings for locals are approximately £28,003, while the average price of a home in Preston is approximately £155,000. The average house price in the city has risen by £5,000 from the previous year. The average salary per annum has also risen by £1,180 in the same time period.
There are seven large parks and gardens in and around the city, along with over 160 miles of footpaths and bridleways. The city is also famous for Deepdale Stadium, which is the world’s oldest continuously running football stadium.
The average annual salary in the city is £28,040, which is nearly £40 more than the salary in Preston. However, Nottingham’s average house price is slightly higher at £163,000, which means that it ranks one place lower as the seventh most affordable city to buy property in the UK.
Although Nottingham is considered affordable, it has also been ranked as having the 10th most deprived local authority in England. The city’s tight boundaries are often cited as the cause for this rank as more affluent suburbs are excluded from the city figures.
Perhaps most famous as the setting in the Robin Hood legend, Nottingham also played a large part in the lace-making industry. In 2022, the city was estimated to have a population of just over 330,000. Around 60,000 students attend the two universities in the city. 30% of the population are aged between 18-29 years old, which means that Nottingham has one of the youngest populations of any major city in the country.
Newcastle-upon-Tyne is located in northeast England and is famous for being a shipbuilding and manufacturing centre during the industrial revolution. The city is now home to a thriving university, which is a member of the renowned Russell Group. Newcastle is also well-known for its shopping scene and features a combination of impressive department stores to small boutiques.
The average salary in the city is £30,830 per annum and the average house price is £182,000. Newcastle’s earnings to house price ratio mean that the northern city is the eighth most affordable city to buy a house in the UK.
Newcastle’s deprivation status moved from a rank of 42 to 32 between 2015 and 2019, with a rank of one being the most deprived local authority in the country. Approximately 28% of children in the city live in low-income households in Newcastle. 31.8% of pupils in the city were eligible for and claimed free school meals, which is higher than the 17.3% national average.
The city of Wakefield is the ninth most affordable place to buy a house in the UK. This Yorkshire city has a strong coal mining heritage and is also famous for being the capital of the ‘rhubarb triangle. Wakefield has a current population of approximately 344,000 people.
Wakefield is the second most dangerous town in West Yorkshire and has a 15% higher rate of crimes than the overall crime rate in the metropolitan county. The city is also home to the largest high-security prison in Western Europe.
The average house price in Wakefield is £169,200, whilst the average salary is £28,537. The ratio between the two makes it one of the most affordable cities in the whole of the UK.
Average salaries and the property market are prone to change (which is shown by the recent trend of rising house prices). It’s likely that the northern regions will continue topping the list of the most affordable cities in the UK in upcoming years due to the low house prices.