In news that is kind of good, but also not that good, London is no longer one of the top five least affordable places to live in the UK. According to analysis from mortgage lenders Halifax, London ranks lower than some provincial cities which have seen huge increases in house prices over the past year.
London’s new status sees it reach the dizzying heights of being still unaffordable, just slightly less unaffordable than other places.
Seven cities placed higher than London in Halifax’s rankings, which calculated ‘affordability’ by comparing the city’s average house price with the average yearly salary. In London, the average house price is £564,695, 11 times the capital's average annual salary of £51,257.
Keen property statisticians among you might point out that London being ‘less unaffordable’ doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to buy a house in the capital. And you’re right – it’s more the case that other places have leapfrogged London and become even less affordable. In Winchester, now the most unaffordable city in the UK, the average house price is now 14 times the average salary. Oxford, Truro, Bath, Chichester, Cambridge and Brighton & Hove have filled out the rest of the unaffordability rankings above London.
At the other end of the table, the most affordable cities were Londonderry (with house prices at 4.7 times the annual salary), Carlisle (4.8) and Bradford (4.8).
I’d still hesitate to go so far as to now call London ‘affordable’, but at least we aren’t the worst example. And if we’re being extra optimistic, after decades of eye-watering house-price increases, maybe, just maybe, these rankings actually show the city is moving in the right direction.