East Dunbartonshire has topped a list of the most affordable places in the UK for first time buyers (FTB) to make a move onto the property ladder.
With property prices averaging £97,089, which is 2.6 times local annual average gross earnings, the area is one of five Scottish Local Authority Districts to make the ten most affordable areas, according to Bank of Scotland’s First Time Buyer Review.
The Scottish Housing News website cited Copeland in the North West of England as the UK’s second most affordable area (2.9), closely followed by East Renfrewshire (3.0), West Dunbartonshire and Stirling (both 3.1). North Lanarkshire is the UK’s eighth most affordable area (3.3).
Angus is Scotland’s least affordable with a house price to average earnings ratio of 6.1. It is followed by Western Isles (5.8) and East Lothian (5.2).
The ten least affordable LADs in the UK for FTBs are all in London. The least affordable is Brent where the average FTB property price of £457,014 is 12.5 times gross average annual earnings in the area.
The average Scottish First time buyers’ deposit in May 2016 was £21,751 – less than the UK average of £33,960.
Over half (53 per cent) of all FTB purchases in Scotland are below the £125,000 starting threshold for Stamp Duty. This is in contrast to Greater London where all FTBs are liable for Stamp Duty, with 85 per cent of them paying more than £250,000. Nationally, 45 per cent of properties bought by FTBs are priced between £125,000 and £250,000 with 24 per cent of FTB purchases above £250,000.
The average age of a first time buyer in Scotland is 30; up from 28 in 2011. Regionally, the average age of a first time buyer is highest in London (32).
Nicola Noble, mortgages director at Bank of Scotland, said: “It’s great news for Scottish First Time Buyers that five of the UK’s most affordable areas are in Scotland, with East Dunbartonshire topping the table. Over half of first time buyers in Scotland are below the £125,000 Stamp Duty threshold, compared to the UK average of just under a third. Although many potential first time buyers are facing escalating house prices and deposit sizes, record low mortgage rates continue to make buying seem a more attractive option than renting.”