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North East remains one of country’s most affordable regions to buy a home, says My Property Box

Ben Quaintrell, managing director of My Property Box

The North East remains one of the most affordable places to buy a home – where full time workers could expect to pay an average 5.5 times their annual earnings to buy a property, according to estate agent My Property Box.

However, this affordability ratio rises above the national average in parts of North Yorkshire, where 9.6 times the average annual income was required to secure a home.

The latest data on house prices and annual earnings for 2021 from the Office for National Statistics found:

  • In England, full-time employees could expect to spend around 9.1 times their annual earnings on buying a home in 2021, compared to 7.9 times in 2020
  • At a local level, house prices grew faster than earnings in 91% of local authority areas
  • The most affordable local authority areas in 2021 were in the North East, North West, Wales, Yorkshire and The Humber and West Midlands
  • Copeland in West Cumbria was the most affordable place, with average property prices 2.7 times average annual earnings, while Kensington and Chelsea in London was the least affordable, with average house prices 36.5 times average annual earnings
  • In 2021, new homes remained less affordable than existing dwellings in England and Wales

Ben Quaintrell, the managing director of Darlington-headquartered My Property Box, which covers the North East and North Yorkshire, said property values continue to rise, caused by high demand from buyers, combined with the limited numbers of homes coming to the market.

Meanwhile, the rate at which new homes are being built is being hampered by a labour shortage within the construction industry and the rising cost of materials, including steel, bricks, and cement.

He said: “As a region the North East remains one of the most affordable places to buy a home in terms of affordability ratios, the situation is very different in North Yorkshire, largely due to people wishing to relocate to a rural or semi-rural location due to the increased move towards home working.

“Most lenders will lend 4.5 times an annual salary, which means most people have to ensure they have a reasonable deposit or can get help from their family.”

The average cost of buying a property in the North East was 5.5 times the average annual salary in 2021, an increase of just 0.3 over the previous 12 months. In parts of North Yorkshire, that figure was 9.6, an increase of 2.5 over the previous year.

The four North East local authority areas to see the highest jump in affordability ratios between 2020 and 2021 were South Tyneside, up by 0.8, Northumberland, up 0.6, while Sunderland and Redcar & Cleveland both rose by 0.6. In North Yorkshire, Harrogate had a 0.9 and Richmondshire, a 0.8 rise.

In the English regions, the North East experienced the largest difference in affordability between new and existing dwellings. Here, the ratio of house prices to earnings for new dwellings was 59.9% greater than the ratio for existing dwellings. This fell from 65.3% in 2020.

My Property Box purchased Newcastle estate agent Groves last year, which continues to trade under its own name. Other recent acquisitions made by the company, founded in 2012, includes lettings agencies Westoe Lettings in South Shields, Richmondshire-based WardHorne and Garrison Lettings, together with Bishop Auckland estate agent Lifestyle Property.


Affordability ratios
North East: Northumberland, 6.8 affordability ratio 2021 (+0.6); North Tyneside, 6.5 (+0.3); Newcastle, 5.9 (+0.4); South Tyneside, 5.8 (+0.8); Gateshead, 5.7 (+0.2); Redcar & Cleveland, 5.6 (+0.5); Stockton-on-Tees, 5.3 (+0.4); Darlington, 5.3 (+0.1); Middlesbrough, 5.1 (0.1); Sunderland, 5 (0.5+); County Durham, 4.7 (+0.2); Hartlepool, 4.6 (no change).
North Yorkshire: Harrogate 10.9 (+0.9); Hambleton, 9.7 (+0.7); Ryedale, 9.5 (+0.1); Richmondshire, 8.5 (+0.8).