UK house prices aren't kind to anyone, but they're particularly brutal if you're trying to buy a house on your own. It's no secret that buying as a couple makes home ownership significantly more affordable, but what about those of us for whom a significant other isn't in the picture?
More and more people are living on their own, with the number of people living on their own having increased by 292,000 since 2017. Solo home ownership will only increase over time – but it's currently only truly affordable in a handful of locations.
New research from estate agents Coulters Property (opens in new tab) has looked at 30 of the most populated towns and cities across the UK to reveal which are the most affordable for solo buyers. The research doesn't just focus on house prices but consider how much of a person' average salary in different locations goes towards the mortgage and (estimated) living costs.
This is a much better way of working out housing affordability than just considering mortgage costs. The true measure of housing affordability is how much a home owner is left with at the end of the month after all the basic expenditures including the mortgage.
And the city that emerges as the most affordable for solo buyers is Bradford. The residents of the West Yorkshire town only need to put around 44 per cent of their earnings towards their mortgage and living expenses. Derby, Belfast, Glasgow, and Aberdeen also offer good affordability to single buyers – mortgage and living expenses combine will take less than 50 per cent of the average local salary in all of those places.
By grim contrast, buying on your own in London will take up almost all of your earnings (98.7 per cent) after mortgage and typical living expenses. Brighton & Hove is also not particularly affordable – you'll need to give over almost 77 per cent of your income just to cover all the expenses as a home owner, and in Reading that figure is 68.9 per cent.
The data set demonstrates just how important it is to consider all your expenses before embarking on home ownership – although, for course, to a large extent, the mortgage application process will see to that. It also shows the stark disadvantage single home buyers find themselves in if they're located in the capital and the South East. Looking into government schemes like Help to Buy and Shared Ownership may well be a necessity rather than just one of the options for solo buyers who don't have any other way of offsetting some of the costs of home ownership.