Property in the UK 's cities is currently more affordable than at anytime in almost the past decade, new research has revealed.
According to the Lloyds TSB Affordable Cities Review, the average price for a city home in the UK currently stands at £173,202.
With this figure equating to around 5.5 times gross annual average earnings, it is the lowest ratio seen since 2003.
It also represents an improvement on the ratio of 5.7 times gross annual average earnings seen a year ago and is significantly below the peak of 7.2 recorded in 2008.
Driving the trend towards improved affordability has been the significant drop in city house prices witnessed in recent years.
Indeed, over the past four years the average city house price has fallen by 18%, from £210,605 in 2008 to £173,202 in 2012.
Despite the overall improvement, the research reveals the existence of a substantial north - south divide.
All sixteen of the most affordable cities for homebuyers are in the north, while the fifteen least affordable cities are all in the south.
Salford has been crowned the most affordable city in the UK with the average property price of £102,391 being less than four times (3.81) gross average annual earnings.
The next most affordable cities are Londonderry (3.87) and Bradford (3.98).
At the other end of the scale, Truro and Oxford are the UK 's least affordable cities.
In Truro, the average property price of £250,489 is nearly ten times (9.71) gross average earnings in the area.
"Looking forward, the marked improvement in city affordability is likely to help support demand for those able to enter the housing market," said Suren Thiru, housing economist at Lloyds TSB.
"Much of this benefit, however, maybe offset by the continuing difficulties many households face in raising a deposit and uncertainty over the outlook for the UK economy."
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