First time buyers face spending at least six times their annual wages to get on the property ladder in nearly half of Britain’s local authority areas.

Affordability in 45% of areas is becoming more stretched.

In 2016, just over a third of local authority areas had average house price-to-earnings ratios of six or more, according to the analysis by Nationwide Building Society.

First time buyers affordability

The London borough of Kensington and Chelsea is the least affordable place for first time buyers. Meanwhile, East Ayrshire in Scotland remains the most affordable.

Buyers would be looking at paying almost a whopping 15 times their earnings to buy a home in Kensington and Chelsea. This is compared with just under two and a half times earnings in East Ayrshire.

The report from Nationwide used official house price and earnings data from 2021.

A recent rise in prices may have outpriced some first time buyers in rural areas. This is likely due to a surge of people searching for more space during the coronavirus pandemic.

Andrew Harvey, a senior economist at Nationwide, said: “Most authorities in the South West (of England) have seen a deterioration in affordability over the last year, but Cotswold replaced Bath and North East Somerset as the least affordable area, with a house price earning ratio of 8.6.

“This district includes sought-after towns such as Cirencester, Tetbury and Moreton-in-Marsh.”

Swindon has remained the most affordable area in the South West, with a house price-to-earnings ratio of 5.4, he said.

The Northern Echo: Most and least affordable places in Britain for first-time home buyers revealed (Canva)Most and least affordable places in Britain for first-time home buyers revealed (Canva)

He continued: “Rutland, the smallest historic county in England, remains the least affordable authority in the East Midlands, while in the West Midlands it is Malvern Hills.

“In Yorkshire and the Humber, the district of Ryedale in North Yorkshire continues to have the highest house price-to-earnings ratio, despite seeing weaker price growth over the last year than most of the region. This predominately rural area includes towns such as Malton and Pickering.”

Barnsley is now the most affordable area in Yorkshire and the Humber, replacing North East Lincolnshire.

Affordability in Craven, which includes the market town of Skipton in Yorkshire, has improved since 2016, with the average first-time buyer house price-to-earnings ratio decreasing from 6.5 to 5.5.

Mr Harvey added: “The least affordable area in the North West government region is South Lakeland in Cumbria, which includes parts of the popular Lake District national park, including Ambleside and Windermere.”

However, Copeland in the west of Cumbria is the most affordable area in the North West, despite prices rising 11% over the last year.

In Wales, Mr Harvey said the Vale of Glamorgan has replaced Cardiff as the least affordable area.

He said: “Prices in the Vale, which includes Barry, rose by 17% year-on-year, reflecting a trend in Wales of stronger price growth in areas outside of the major cities.”

Merthyr Tydfil remains the most affordable local authority in Wales, he added.

In Scotland, Edinburgh remains high on affordability, with the highest house-to-earnings ratio.

“East Ayrshire, in Scotland, continues to be the most affordable authority in Great Britain, with average first time buyer house prices just 2.4 times average earnings,” Mr Harvey said.

“East Ayrshire covers a large geographic area to the south of Glasgow, but its main towns are Kilmarnock and Cumnock.”

He said that, in Scotland, Aberdeen has seen the biggest improvement in housing affordability since 2016, largely due to house price falls there.

The average first-time buyer house price-to-earnings ratio has declined from 4.6 to 3.4.

Mr Harvey added: “North Tyneside is the least affordable area within the North East, although average prices are only around four times average earnings, so this is still relatively affordable compared to some of the other locations in our list.

“The North East region also has the smallest gap between the least and most affordable authorities…

“In the North East, County Durham has the lowest house price-to-earnings ratio at 3.1.”

In London, Bromley is the most affordable borough, with a house price-to-earnings ratio of 7.4.

Least affordable local authority areas

  • London, Kensington and Chelsea
  • South East, Oxford
  • East of England, Hertsmere
  • South West, Cotswold
  • East Midlands, Rutland
  • Yorkshire and the Humber, Ryedale
  • West Midlands, Malvern Hills
  • North West, South Lakeland
  • Wales, Vale of Glamorgan
  • Scotland, City of Edinburgh
  • North East, North Tyneside

Most affordable local authority areas

  • Scotland, East Ayrshire
  • North West, Copeland
  • North East, County Durham
  • Wales, Merthyr Tydfil
  • Yorkshire and the Humber, Barnsley
  • West Midlands, Stoke-on-Trent
  • East Midlands, Bolsover
  • East of England, Great Yarmouth
  • South West, Swindon
  • South East, Southampton
  • London, Bromley