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Many towns too costly for first-time buyers

First-time buyers face being priced out of the market in many of Britain&#39s biggest towns, according to the Halifax.

Its research shows that, in 451 towns, buying a home is beyond the reach of one-third of potential first-time buyers.

There is a marked geographic divide, with house prices in Southern England unaffordable for four-fifths of average-earning FTBs while the same is true for only one-tenth of FTBs in the North.

Sevenoaks in Kent suffers from the greatest disparity, with a difference of £39,358 between average local earnings of £23,946 and the required income of £63,304 to purchase a house as a first-time buyer. The average FTB&#39s house in Sevenoaks costs £216,566.

Twickenham in South-west London is close behind, with an income of £68,379 needed to buy a home and the average salary being £34,720.

Leven in Scotland is the most affordable town in the UK, with a first-time buyer needing an income of £9,933, which is £13,389 below the average earnings of £23,322.

There are 163 towns where a first-time buyer needs an income in excess of local average earnings to buy a property, including 107 in Greater London and the South-east, 19 in the South-west, seven in East Anglia and 30 in the North.

Halifax Group economist Martin Ellis says: “Many potential first-time buyers are being priced out of the market, particularly in Southern England. These difficulties are forcing more people to buy with their partner or with friends or to delay purchase.”

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