OXFORD has been named the least affordable place outside London to buy a home.

The city featured in 12th place in a list of the toughest areas for first-time buyers, comparing average house prices as a multiple of average incomes, according to the Halifax bank.

It was topped only by Islington, Brent, Hackney, Haringey, Newham, Hillingdon, Barnet, Hounslow, Hammersmith and Fulham, Lambeth and Camden – all in London.

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And it was ranked less affordable than some London boroughs, including Waltham Forest, Southwark, Westminster, Enfield and Ealing.

The city's varsity rival Cambridge was ranked 17th least affordable city.

The bank found the average first-time buyer was required to put down £10,000 more last year as a deposit than if they had got on the property ladder in 2019.

The most affordable places were all in Scotland and the North, with the top three places taken by Burnley, East Ayrshire and North Ayrshire.

In the South East – which includes Oxfordshire – the average first-time buyer deposit was £54,654 in 2019 and £64,910 last year – an increases of 19 per cent, or £10,256.

Across the UK, the average amount put down by a first-time buyer in 2020 was £57,278, compared with £46,449 the year before, marking a 23 per cent increase, or £10,829 in cash terms.

Average deposits for first-time buyers in London were up by £20,211 (18 per cent), from £110,145 to £130,357.

Other areas also saw big increases, with the average first-time buyer deposit growing by 25 per cent (£6,634) in Wales, from £26,029 to £32,663.

The bank, which used UK Finance figures for part of its calculations, said the overall number of first-time buyers in 2020 was down by more than 46,000, or 13 per cent, compared with 2019, with an estimated 304,657 first-time buyers in 2020.

This was the lowest number since 2015, when there were 298,080 first-time buyers.

Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland were the parts of the UK with the biggest decreases in first-time buyers last year, while London experienced the smallest fall, Halifax found.

According to Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, average UK house prices jumped to a record high of £250,000 in November and those in London broke through the £500,000 barrier for the first time.

A temporary stamp duty holiday and pent-up demand after the market was put on hold in the early part of 2020 have fuelled demand, with rising prices making life harder for those trying to get on the property ladder.

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said: “While these figures confirm the almost inevitable fall in the overall number of first-time buyers in 2020 – with the entire housing market effectively shuttered during the first national lockdown – they also underline just how strong the bounce back was in the second half of the year.

“Despite the obvious challenges presented by soaring house prices, not least the need to raise an even bigger deposit, first-time buyers still accounted for half of all home purchases, a reassuring statistic given their overall importance to the market.

“However, with the economic impact of the pandemic likely to be felt most keenly by the young and those in lower-paid jobs, the need to prioritise improved housing availability and affordability for all those looking to make that first step on to the property ladder becomes ever greater.”

Oxford Mail: Oxford from footpaths Boars Hill. Picture: Roy PynigerOxford from footpaths Boars Hill. Picture: Roy Pyniger

Least affordable places in the UK for first-time buyers, comparing average house prices as a multiple of average incomes:

=1. Islington, London, 11.9

=1. Brent, London, 11.9

3. Hackney, London, 11.8

4. Haringey, London, 11.5

5. Newham, London, 11.3

6. Hillingdon, London, 11.1

=7. Barnet, London, 10.6

=7. Hounslow, London, 10.6

=9. Hammersmith and Fulham, London, 10.4

=9. Lambeth, London, 10.4

=9. Camden, London, 10.4

12. Oxford, South East, 10.3

13. Waltham Forest, London, 10.1

=14. Slough, South East, 10.0

=14. Southwark, London, 10.0

=14. Westminster, London, 10.0

=17. Hertsmere, East of England, 9.9

=17. Cambridge, East of England, 9.9

19. Enfield, London, 9.8

20. Ealing, London, 9.7

The most affordable places in the UK for first-time buyers, comparing average house prices as a multiple of average incomes

1. Burnley, North West, 3.1

=2. East Ayrshire, Scotland, 3.2

=2. North Ayrshire, Scotland, 3.2

=4. Inverclyde, Scotland, 3.4

=4. West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, 3.4

6. Renfrewshire, Scotland, 3.5

=7. South Lanarkshire, Scotland, 3.6

=7. Clackmannanshire, Scotland, 3.6

=7. North Lanarkshire, Scotland, 3.6

10. North Down and Ards, Northern Ireland, 3.8

=11. Middlesbrough, North East, 3.9

=11. Doncaster, Yorkshire 3.9

=11. Fife, Scotland, 3.9

=11. Hyndburn, North West, 3.9

=11. Carlisle, North West, 3.9

=16. Falkirk, Scotland, 4.0

=16. County Durham, North East, 4.0

=18. Glasgow, Scotland, 4.1

=18. South Ayrshire, Scotland, 4.1

=18. Barnsley, Yorkshire, 4.1