Want to buy a home in the UK? You’ll need to earn £54,000 (on average)

First-time buyers now need an average income of £54,000 to buy a typical home in a UK city, though the good news for purchasers is that the priciest locations have become a little more affordable, according to new data.

This average income figure has risen 9% since 2016, when it stood at £49,900, largely down to higher house prices, says property website Zoopla.

Its figures come days after official data showed that average UK house prices rose by 1.4% in the year to April 2019, down from a 1.6% rise in March 2019, with property values continuing to fall in London.

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Zoopla looked at 20 cities that together account for more than a third of the UK’s housing stock, and found that of these, Liverpool had the lowest gross household income required for first-time buyers, at £26,000.

In London, meanwhile, it found that those who have never owned before need an average household income of £84,000 to purchase a home. However, while this may seem unattainably high for many would-be purchasers, Zoopla said it was the lowest figure for four years, and was £3,250 less than the amount needed in 2016.

“This follows three years of weak growth and small price falls in the capital, where prices are now beginning to stabilise,” said a spokesman.

The site put the current average price of a home in London at £482,000, compared with an average of £256,000 for the 20 cities analysed, and £219,000 for the UK as a whole.

Cambridge and Oxford require the highest typical household incomes of anywhere outside the capital, at £72,000 and £69,000 respectively. However, in both cases these were down on three years ago – at £76,000 and £71,000, respectively. Zoopla recorded the average price in Cambridge as £422,000, and £407,000 in Oxford.

While Liverpool was named the most affordable market for first-time buyers to enter, it was also the city that notched up the highest house price growth: 5% over the 12 months to May 2019.

By contrast, prices in the capital fell by 0.4% over the same period, and by more than 4% in Aberdeen, where the property market is heavily reliant on the North Sea oil and gas industry. Tumbling oil prices have had a big impact on the port city.

Richard Donnell, Zoopla’s research and insight director, said: “While the average household income to buy a typical home across UK cities has grown 9% since 2016, weaker price growth and recent price falls have led to a 5% reduction in the income to buy across the most expensive cities. It will come as a modest relief for would-be buyers, though the income to purchase still remains relatively high.”

The website makes a number of assumptions to calculate its figures – for example, it assumes 30% of net household income is spent on mortgage costs, and that a deposit of 15% is put down (25% in London, Oxford and Cambridge).

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