First time buyers in Edinburgh faced with spending six times their annual earnings to get on property ladder

First-time buyers in Edinburgh face spending at least six times their annual wages to get on the property ladder, according to a new study.

Analysis by Nationwide Building Society showed first-time buyers face spending at least six times their annual wages to get on the property ladder in nearly half (45 per cent) of Britain’s local authority areas.

Back in 2016, just over a third (35 per cent) of local authority areas had average house price-to-earnings ratios of six or more.

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In Scotland, Edinburgh continues to have the highest house price-to-earnings ratio with a ratio of 5.9, meaning first-time buyers would likely face average house prices of almost six times their annual earnings, according to the building society’s Affordability Report.

Edinburgh remains the most expensive area to buy a property according to the study.

The study found through Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, the average gross earnings in the City of Edinburgh was just over £41,000. However, first-time buyers would face buying properties with an average price of £240,000.

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The top three most expensive areas for first-time buyers were based in Edinburgh and the Lothians, with the City of Edinburgh followed by East Lothian and Midlothian.

According to the data, purchasing a house in East Lothian would cost around five-and-a-half times the gross annual earnings for the area, with homes costing on average £199,000 and Midlothian homes costing 4.9 per cent more with £174,000 on average against salaries of around £35,000 for both areas.

The average earnings was found using ONS data, while the average house price study from the Nationwide data was sourced using the UK House Price Index.

Andrew Harvey, Nationwide’s senior economist, said: “Edinburgh has consistently been the least affordable location in Scotland since the start of our series in 2014.

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"This reflects that average house prices there are significantly higher than in other parts of Scotland.

"Housing demand in the Scottish capital remains strong, while supply has struggled to keep pace.

"Average first-time buyer house prices are around £240,000, which is nearly three times higher than those in East Ayrshire, the cheapest location in Scotland, and around 75 per cent above those in Glasgow. House price to earnings ratios in Glasgow and the surrounding areas remain well below those in Edinburgh and the wider Lothian region.”

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

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

Across Scotland, Aberdeen has seen the biggest improvement in housing affordability since 2016, largely due to house price falls across the country.

East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire, Inverclyde and West Dumbartonshire remain the cheapest areas for first-time buyers to get a house in Scotland.

Across the UK, the average first-time buyer house price-to-earnings ratio has declined from 4.6 to 3.4.

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The race for more living space during the coronavirus pandemic as people relocated across Scotland may have priced some first-time buyers out of the market in more rural areas.