Birmingham or London … or Burnley
Would-be homeowners would need to borrow 73 times the average income in order to afford a typical house in one area of England and Wales. In Belgravia you would need to borrow 73.4 times your income to afford a home. With an average net household income of £46,318 and house prices averaging £3.2m, the area is the least affordable place in England and Wales.
In comparison, in central Burnley, a home is a much more affordable, 1.9 times the average income of £20,280, at a median price of £39,500. So for less than £40,000 one can acquire a property adjacent to the home of the mighty Clarets, probably the best football team in the world!
Overall, just 17% of England and Wales would be affordable to the average household based on maximum borrowing of 4.5 times income.
Bank of England rules that banks should not have more than 15% of their lending at more than 4.5 times income means it is much harder to get mortgages for higher multiples.
While property prices are still to return to the pre-recession peak in Birmingham, the average cost has risen by almost 44 per cent in London. The average property price in Birmingham is £134,800, which represents a 4.7 per cent rise compared to last year but remains 2.8 per cent below the 2007 peak. London house prices rose 9.6pc in the year to September 2015, meaning the average London property now costs £499,997, according to data from the Land Registry. That means that the average home in Birmingham is 27 per cent of the cost of the equivalent property in the capital. The difference in property prices is now the most it has been for two decades.
Will this last? With the development of Birmingham city centre notably at Paradise Circus, the regeneration of the Jewellery Quarter, the addition of iconic landmarks such as Grand Central Station and the new library and the planned HS2 terminal, Birmingham is on the up and this can be seen from the increasing numbers of foreign investors who are preferring to spend their money in the second city.
So where should you invest? Yes, I have a soft spot for Burnley, my ancestral home, but the smart money is on Birmingham!