Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland cities at the top of most affordable table

By Joanne Fleming

Four of the UK's most affordable cities are in Northern Ireland, according to a new report.

Londonderry, Newry, Belfast and Lisburn made it into the top 10 of cheap cities to live in – with Derry securing the number two spot after Stirling in Scotland.

Houses in Derry typically cost 3.6 times the local earnings, compared to the 5.8 average.

Newry followed as the third most affordable city to live in, with Belfast taking fourth spot and Lisburn the seventh.

The Lloyds Bank report found that city living in the UK has become less affordable in the last year amid resurgent house prices.

The price of a home in a large British town or city has grown by 5% in 12 months to £184,215.

But the average house price in Northern Ireland is now £131,000, stated the Office for National Statistics (ONS) index in January.

The UK's most affordable cities are clustered in Northern Ireland, Scotland and northern England.

Oxford was found to be the least affordable place to live, with people facing a property price tag more than 11 times the local wage.

Derry Mayor Martin Reilly said there were advantages and disadvantages to being an affordable city to live in. While being a boost to young people hoping to get on the housing ladder, he said a low economic turnover contributed to the statistics.

"In Derry there is a high rate of unemployment and economic inactivity," he said. "Many of the pluses have to be the quality of life and social engagement and cultural activity. It is a city that has a very young population."

Newry Mayor Michael Ruane welcomed the fact Newry was an affordable place to live in.

But he said there was a problem with availability, with long waiting lists for Housing Executive and Housing Association homes.

"At this moment in time the rents in private rental are very high," he said.

THE TOP 10

The UK's most affordable cities

1. Stirling

2. Derry

3. Newry

4. Belfast

5. Bradford

6. Lancaster

7. Lisburn

8. Salford

9. Glasgow

10. Durham

Source: Lloyds Bank

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