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Unaffordability Levels at New Heights for UK City Homes

The cost of a typical city home in the UK is at its highest level since 2009 in terms of unaffordability.

Homebuyers are now forced to stretch their already strained wages even further to keep up with increasing property prices, according to a recent report.

Lloyds Bank found that a home in an urban location now costs around 6.1 times the average gross annual earnings, which is higher than the 5.8 times multiplier calculated 12 months ago. The increase is attributed to the recovering housing market.

It is said that property affordability in the cities is at its 2009 level, although still lower than at the crest of the housing boom in 2008. At that time, the average home price was 7.2 times average earnings.

At present Oxford is the least affordable city in the country, with the average property costing £361,469, which is almost 11 times the local income.

Homes in Winchester and Cambridge cost approximately 10 times the local wages, while in Chichester and Brighton the prices are more than nine times earnings.

Greater London is close to these cities in terms of unaffordability, with a home in the capital costing around 8.75 times average earnings.

Stirling continues to be the most affordable city in the UK. Houses have an average sell price of £158,645, which is around 3.9 times local earnings, according to Lloyds' Affordable Cities Review.

The conclusions were submitted as a separate report after Hometrack, a property analyst company, found that cities such as Belfast and Leeds all demonstrated a strong increase in property sales in 2014 compared with their past five-year average.

Hometrack stated at increasing sales volumes are a significant indicator of house prices getting ready to go up. Other cities, such as Cambridge and London, which have seen house prices increase as the recovery takes hold, saw sales volume go down in 2014 compared to the year before.

As homebuyers in these cities attain the limits of what they can afford for housing, the lowering sales volume feeds into a slowing rate of price increases.

Specialists in Construction Insurance

According to Lloyds, property prices in Aberdeen have already gone up by 88 percent over the last decade, representing the greatest price increase in the country.

London has been the top property price star in recent times, thanks to wealthy foreign investors seeking a safe haven for their money as the economic downturn progressed. The average London home has gone up in value by 40% over the past five years.

Andy Hulme, mortgages director for Lloyds Bank, said that house prices in the last two years have caused home affordability to deteriorate in most UK cities, causing a widening divide in north vs south affordability as the market strengthens in the south.

Mr Hulme said that the cities with the strongest economy have tended to host the strongest rise in property prices. Aberdeen, the oil and gas capital, experienced the greatest gains throughout the past decade while London performed the strongest during the economic recovery.

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