Cornwall delivers UK's highest new build rates

Research produced exclusively for Property Week has revealed the areas of the country that have seen the highest levels of housebuilding since 2011 - as well as the areas that are least affordable for first-time buyers.

The research by data management company CACI shows that the council that has overseen the delivery of the most new homes is Cornwall with 17,772 new addresses registered in the past six years.

Although it is one of the few rural areas on the list, the county has seen higher-than-average levels of housebuilding as a result of the lack of affordable housing, which has prompted the council to push development.

Most of the council areas towards the top of the list are in urban areas. Tower Hamlets is in second place, having seen 13,820 units delivered since 2011, followed by Glasgow, which has seen 13,095 new homes delivered.

The areas in the top 20 for housebuilding are also geographically diverse with councils in both the north and south of England and several in Scotland all making the cut. By contrast, all those on the list of areas least affordable to first-time buyers are located in London or the South East.

In order to draw up the affordability ranking, CACI looked at the mortgage that would be available to a buyer on the average income in the area, assuming they had a 10% deposit. It then compared the mortgage figure with the average house price in the area to calculate the ‘cash gap’ between what the average buyer can afford and the cost of the average property.

Unsurprisingly, Kensington & Chelsea topped the list of least affordable council areas with a cash gap of £2.3m. The City of Westminster came in second at £1.2m while Camden was third at £744,600.

London boroughs accounted for 15 of the 20 least affordable areas. Even boroughs in the capital that were relatively affordable just 15 years ago made the top 20, including Hackney (11) and Lambeth (15). The remaining places in the top 20 are all in the home counties.

Affordability crisis

The research also revealed the extent of the affordability crisis across the country. CACI found that the average cash gap in the UK currently stands at £117,048, with only 13 council areas classified as affordable for first-time buyers.

Nine of the most affordable areas are in Scotland. North Lanarkshire was found to be the most affordable council area in the UK. The mortgage available to somebody on the average income in the area exceeds the average house price by £19,000.

The most affordable area in England was Hyndburn in Lancashire, where the equivalent figure was £6,900.

“The data shows it is incredibly difficult for the average person to afford a home almost anywhere in the UK without other sources of income, whether that’s savings, inheritance or the bank of mum and dad,” says Patrick Tate, director of location strategy and analytics at CACI.

“The UK is not building enough houses and most first-time buyers and young people are completely priced out of the housing market.”

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