Northumberland is among the top 10 most affordable places in the UK for first-time buyers, according to new figures.
The UK’s largest mortgage lender, the Halifax, has released the data, which shows that compared to local earnings, the cheapest places to buy are mostly in western Scotland and northern England. The most expensive are all in London.
Northumberland is ranked as the ninth most affordable place in the UK for first-time buyers. On average, house prices in The Secret Kingdom are 3.3 times local annual earnings.
East Dunbartonshire, on the northern fringes of Glasgow, is the most-affordable place in the UK. On average, house prices here are just 2.6 times local annual earnings.
By contrast, the least-affordable place is Brent in north London, where house prices are on average 12.5 times local earnings.
The Halifax data also shows that first-time buyers face the highest prices in London, paying £384,000 on average, compared to just £110,00 in Northern Ireland.
The number of people buying houses or flats for the first time is now on the increase, according to the Halifax.
Its figures show that 154,200 buyers were successful in the first half of 2016, compared to 140,500 in the same period the previous year – a 10 per cent rise.
However, the longer-term picture is not so rosy. Government figures released earlier this week show that the number of first-time buyers in England has fallen by a third in the past decade.
The Halifax said the government’s Help to Buy scheme, launched in April 2013, would have helped to boost first-time buys.