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Most affordable places to invest in property in the UK in 2021

When the time comes to start considering where exactly you want to purchase your next property, the list of considerations you’re likely to make is a long one. Amongst the usual concerns of ‘I want to stay within commuting distance of my job’ and ‘there needs to be a good school close by’ that will change from person to person to meet their priorities, one question is always on people’s minds: ‘where is most affordable?’

Generally, the affordability of a city or town can be worked out by taking the average salary and the average property price and using these figures to calculate the ratio of price-to-earnings. So for example, if the average salary of an area was £25,000 and the average property price was £250,000, the price-to-earnings ratio would be 10-1.

£250,000 ÷ £25,000 = 10

What this effectively means is that, without taking into account taxes, living expenses and any other fees and mortgages, it would take 10 years of working to purchase a house in that area. Of course, this ratio functions only as an indication of the affordability of an area, not a definitive figure, but the rankings it provides are a useful scale to utilise when deciding where to live.

Moving is a big decision, and having the assurance that you’ll be financially stable wherever you go is an important part of making that choice. To help you find the perfect place to buy your own property, we’ve compiled a list of the most affordable places to live in the UK in 2021. The rankings can be found in the table below.

RankCityAvg. Annual Salary (ONS)Avg. Property Value (Zoopla)Price-to-Earnings Ratio
1Bradford£28,444£134,3104.62
2Derby£40,508£211,5595.22
3Hull£27,450£145,1495.29
4Sunderland£27,300£148,6305.44
5Stoke-on-Trent£27,870£159,4865.72
6Liverpool£30,780£181,8605.91
7Manchester£31,200£201,4026.46
8Aberdeen£32,700£215,2416.58
9Birmingham£31,300£208,5746.66
10Wolverhampton£29,900£209,4067.00
11Lancaster£28,650£204,1277.12
12Newcastle upon Tyne£29,900£215,8417.22
13Wakefield£27,920£201,7407.22
14Sheffield£28,130£210,0757.47
15Plymouth£29,010£217,5527.5
16Leeds£29,790£227,3017.63
17Nottingham£28,750£225,3127.84
18Portsmouth£30,830£252,2858.18
19Gloucester£29,170£247,7948.49
20Leicester£27,870£240,8428.64
21Cardiff£28,650£258,3829.02
22Southampton£33,020£307,6079.32
23Edinburgh£34,060£321,6469.44
24Chester£28,860£277,5009.62
25York£29,900£297,5729.95
26Bristol£31,870£338,46710.62
27Brighton£30,470£407,76613.38
28City of London£38,272£907,92023.72

The results of this table show a large discrepancy of affordability throughout the UK, with the difference between the most and least affordable cities being monumental. Despite this difference however, which is primarily brought about by the differences in property value as opposed to annual salaries (which largely stay between £5,000 of each other), the results are in line with expectations.

Firstly, the top three spots are taken up by Bradford, Derby and Hull, all of which offer an affordability rating of below 5.3, making them excellent options for investing in property for those seeking places with reasonable salaries and even better house prices. Derby, in particular, benefits from the highest average salary of our list of cities at £40,508, giving movers the chance to earn more.

At the other end of the rankings, we see London. Unsurprisingly, while the average salary for London is the second highest of the cities analysed here at £38,272, the average property value of almost £1 million has had a damaging effect on the affordability of the city as a whole, making it an unpredictable property investment. This is, of course, a well known problem with London that has led to many workers opting to live outside the city and commuting for work.

It is also worth noting from this list that a recurring theme of the capital cities of England, Wales and Scotland all ranking low on the affordability scale. As we’ve already established, London is the worst of the three, achieving a price-to-earnings ratio of 23.72, with Edinburgh and Cardiff following at 9.44 and 9.02 respectively. While this is to be expected, considering the higher population concentration increasing the demand for housing, Cardiff and Edinburgh remain reasonable options for those seeking a busy ‘city’ lifestyle due to their strong salary averages.

Find property in the perfect city for you at SDL Property Auctions

Every city and every town in the UK has its own unique selling points that draw in potential buyers looking to change up their life, but affordability will always remain a key consideration. Whether you’re moving to be closer to family, for a new job or simply looking for a new adventure, SDL Property Auctions can help you find the perfect home in the right area for you.

Ready to get property hunting? Use our Property Finder and filter by area and view properties in the UK’s most affordable locations.