Property Prices More Affordable, Says Halifax

Buying a home is now more affordable than at any time in the past 12 years, according to the Halifax Bank.

That is, as long as a buyer is not looking for somewhere in London or other popular locations in the South East.

Home buyers spent 28% of their income on mortgage payments between April and June - down from 48% in 2007, the Halifax says.

Scotland is most affordable area of the UK, with home owners spending 22% of their income on mortgage payments.

But, at 75%, property within the Kensington and Chelsea district of London is the most expensive place to live.

Mole Valley in Surrey and South Buckinghamshire are also among the least affordable.

"Lower house prices and reduced mortgage rates have resulted in a substantial improvement in housing affordability since the peak of the housing market in 2007," said Halifax economist Martin Ellis.

"The improvement in affordability has been an important factor supporting housing demand this year.

"These affordability gains together with a slowly improving economy should help support demand in the face of pressures from weak earnings growth, relatively high inflation and higher taxes."

Mortgage payments account for the lowest proportion of disposable income in Scotland, where they come in at 22%. It is closely followed by Yorkshire, the Humber and the North West where the figure rises to 23%.

Six of the 10 most affordable districts are in Scotland. East Ayrshire is the most affordable in the UK, with mortgage payments accounting for just 17.7% of local average earnings.

Eight of the 10 areas that have experienced the biggest improvements in affordability since 2007 are in Northern Ireland.