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Wales Home to 4 of the Top 10 Most Affordable Housing Areas in UK, Quinshaw Finance Reveals

Getting onto the housing ladder can be a major challenge in the UK, with property prices many times greater than average salaries. However, in news that may be welcomed by those looking to buy homes in Wales, figures highlighted by alternative property lender Quinshaw Finance show that the country offers some of the UK’s most affordable areas for housing.

A breakdown of the figures

Citing figures from an Office for National Statistics (ONS) report, the company noted that four of the top 10 most affordable areas in the UK in 2019 were located in Wales. Properties in Blaenau Gwent were revealed to be 3.17 times the average annual salary, while homes in Neath Port Talbot came in at 3.68 times average earnings.

Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil also made the top 10, with properties in these areas coming in at 4 and 4.02 times the average salary respectively.

Affordability improved overall across the UK

The Quinshaw Finance reviews of ONS data also revealed that across the UK as a whole, house buyers needed to spend on average 7.8 times their annual salary to purchase a property in 2019. This was a slight fall of 0.2 from the year before. An increase in median gross earnings was one of the reasons for this improved affordability. Average salaries climbed from £29,667 in 2018 to £30,500 last year. Although house prices also went up over this period (by £750 on average), in more than half of local authority districts, earnings growth outstripped property value rises.

Head analyst at Quinshaw Finance Greg Davies said that a rise in the minimum wage had contributed to making homes more accessible. In April last year, the minimum wage for workers aged 25 and over rose from £7.83 to £8.21. Mr Davies also suggested that pay rises for public sector workers had played a role. In 2019, almost a million of these workers, including doctors, soldiers and teachers, received above inflation pay rises.

Cause for optimism

Mr Davies stated that Quinshaw Finance is pleased to see that properties in the UK became more affordable last year. He pointed out that this was the first time the figures had improved since 2015, adding that given this happened during the uncertainty of a general election and Brexit negotiations, it is a “cause for great confidence in the property market”.

Adding a note of caution however, he concluded by suggesting that with the unfolding coronavirus pandemic and the chance of a no deal Brexit later in the year, he hopes that the UK’s property market is able to remain stable.