Prospective homeowners in parts of Cheshire would need to borrow more than 14 times the average income to be able to afford a house.
Exclusive analysis of government figures by CheshireLive has revealed just how unaffordable homes across our area have become.
The analysis works by comparing average household income in each neighbourhood – areas of about 7,200 people – with the average house prices there.
In one neighbourhood in the Prestbury and Adlington area of Cheshire East, the average family would need to borrow 14.5 times the local average yearly income to afford a home. It makes it the least affordable area in the county.
While the average net household income in the neighbourhood is an estimated £47,257 a year, the average house sold for a whopping £685,000 in the year to September 2020.
Meanwhile, a house in one neighbourhood in the Widnes Riverside area of Halton – the most affordable in Cheshire – could be bought for just 3.0 times the average household income.
There, the average net household income is an estimated £26,636 a year, and the median house price is just £79,500.
You can see how your neighbourhood compares using our postcode search interactive.
Since 2014, the Bank of England has set the maximum ratio of loans as 4.5 times income. Only 15% of all mortgages are allowed to exceed this.
Based on this level of maximum borrowing, only 19% of neighbourhoods in Cheshire are actually affordable to those living there.
However, it’s important to note that the figures don’t include any deposit that a family might have saved.
Across England and Wales, the least affordable area to buy a house is in a neighbourhood in the Knightsbridge, Belgravia and Hyde Park area of Westminster, London.
The average house price there, of £3.2 million, is 91.7 times the average income.
Outside of London, the most expensive neighbourhood is in the Oxshott and Stoke D’Abernon area of Elmbridge, Surrey, where homes typically sell for £1.1 million – 24.2 times the average income.
Meanwhile, the most affordable place to buy a house is in a neighbourhood in the Horden area of County Durham, where the average cost of a property in the year to September 2020 was £38,000.
That’s just 1.6 times higher than the average income.
Overall, just 17% of neighbourhoods across England and Wales would be affordable to the average household, based on maximum borrowing levels of 4.5 times income.
Estimates for average income are based on the income of every member of the household in 2018, including employment income, investment returns, and benefits, minus taxes, pension contributions, and maintenance payments – adjusted for the average rise in earnings seen between 2018 and 2020.
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