People in some parts of Britain would need to borrow nearly 92 times the average income to be able to afford a house, data shows.
Analysis of government figures has revealed just how unaffordable homes across England and Wales have become – as the “frenetic” market continues to soar.
One neighbourhood in the Knightsbridge, Belgravia and Hyde Park area of London would see the average family needing to borrow 91.7 times the local average yearly income to afford a home.
This makes it the least affordable area in the county.
The average net household income in the plush neighbourhood is an estimated £35,013 a year, but the average house sold for a whopping £3.2 million in the year to September 2020.
Outside of London, the most expensive neighbourhood is in the Oxshott and Stoke D’Abernon area of Elmbridge, Surrey, where homes typically sell for £1.1 million – 24.2 times the average income.
Meanwhile, a house in one neighbourhood in the Horden area of County Durham – the most affordable in England and Wales – could be bought for just 1.6 times the average household income.
There, the average net household income is an estimated £24,166 a year, and the median house price is just £38,000.
The analysis works by comparing average household income in each neighbourhood – areas of about 7,200 people – with the average house prices there.
The data comes as Britain’s top 10 areas for house price rises have also been revealed.
Seven of those are in the North West of England, according to a Rightmove study across the nation.
The property firm has identified Wallasey in Merseyside as the top property price hotspot.
Sellers’ asking prices are up by 15.6 per cent there annually on average – nearly £24,000 higher than a year ago.
Throughout March and April, one in three properties in the town sold within a week, according to Rightmove website data.
Nationally, asking prices are at a record high of £327,797, an annual rise of 5.1 per cent on average.
Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of properties are selling within a week across Britain – the highest proportion Rightmove has recorded.
Leigh in Greater Manchester was second on the list, with asking prices up by 12.8 per cent.
This is followed by Penzance in Cornwall, where asking prices have increased by 12.5 per cent.
Cornwall recently replaced London as the most searched place on Rightmove.
Many agents are now also asking that first-time buyers have a mortgage in principle before they can view a property, Rightmove said.
It warned those home owners who want to try to find somewhere to move to before putting their home on the market will find it much harder to book viewings in the current busy market.
Rightmove property expert Tim Bannister said: “The average asking prices of all locations in the price hotspot list are below the national average, and I’d expect them to see strong price growth continue for the rest of the year, especially as many buyers will be exempt from stamp duty in these areas right up until the end of September.
“The frenetic market opens up a very real possibility that you could miss out on the home you really want to move to if you haven’t already put your own up for sale, or if you’re a first-time buyer and you haven’t first researched what you can definitely afford.
“We recently found that a much higher proportion of chain-free homes are up for sale, so it’s clear some buyers are already choosing to sell first and buy next rather than tie themselves into a chain.
“To put yourself in the best possible position before you request a viewing I’d recommend getting a mortgage in principle ready, and being clear on what the final asking price you can offer is if it is a hot market where the property is likely to go to best and final offers.
“Agents are telling me that because stock is so few and far between they’re advising home owners to first get an offer accepted on their own home, and they’re finding that many buyers are more willing to then give owners a bit more time to find their next place to move to before the chain can get moving.”
Here are the top property hotspots according to Rightmove, with the average asking price in March and the annual increase:1. Wallasey, Merseyside, £176,707, 15.6 per cent
2. Leigh, Greater Manchester, £160,345, 12.8 per cent
3. Penzance, Cornwall, £280,102, 12.5 per cent
4. Birkenhead, Merseyside, £145,437, 12.4 per cent
5. Wednesbury, West Midlands, £172,753, 12.2 per cent
6. Lancaster, Lancashire, £199,707, 11.8 per cent
7. Sandbach, Cheshire, £280,888, 11.6 per cent
8. Rossendale, Lancashire, £207,618, 11.4 per cent
9. Oldham, Greater Manchester, £174,925, 11.3 per cent
10. Burntwood, Staffordshire, £254,418, 11.2 per cent