Exeter is one of the least-affordable cities to live in the UK, according to a new survey.
In the Westcountry Exeter is joined by Truro as the third least-affordable place to live in the UK, with house prices almost nine times the average wage.
The list of top 20 least-affordable cities published in the Lloyds Bank Affordable Cities Review, points to a clear north-south divide.
Of the 20 least-affordable cities in the UK, 17 are from the south, with Exeter featuring 11th on the list and Truro third, behind only Oxford and Winchester.
In Exeter, the average house price (£203,869) is almost seven times the gross annual average earnings, marking a rise on last year, when the average house price was over £6,000 less, but is a fall on 2012.
Similarly, in Truro, where the average house costs £224,804, the disparity has begun to grow – up slightly on 2013, but again down on 2012, when the average house cost £249,501.
Richard Copus, regional spokesman for the National Federation of Estate Agents, said the trend was likely to continue.
“Truro and Exeter are lovely cathedral cities and continue to be sought after,” he said. “They both have a good sense of community, are not too big and have got the facilities. Basically, they have got a bit of everything and it drives up demand.
“It’s not going to change at all. People like to come here and relocate for the lifestyle and a lot are relocating from more expensive areas. They tend to pay a premium to move down here and push the prices up a bit.”
The only three northern cities to feature in the list are Lichfield, Leicester and York.
Conversely, the top 15 most affordable regions are in northern England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, with Stirling, where houses cost just 3.3-times average earnings, topping the list.
Geoff Brown, portfolio holder for homes and communities on Cornwall Council, said it was a key priority of the local authority to focus on affordable housing provision.
The council is currently consulting on a draft affordable housing supplementary planning document, which will support the Cornwall Local Plan, in providing guidance on affordable housing provision.
Mr Brown said: “It still is one of our main priorities.
“One of the problems is that affordable homes cost 80% of the market value, but in a place like Truro, where property prices are high, that isn’t affordable.
“We are exploring the possibility of making some of our affordable homes less than 80% of the market value.
“We also need to press the Government for fairer funding because there is a huge disparity in, for example buying a house in Solihull, where the difference between house prices and wages are significantly less.
“Local authorities need the freedom to administer needs locally. The Government keeps talking to us about devolving to parish and town councils – I think they need to devolve from government to local government.”
Multiple of average salary required to buy in...
1@ Oxford, (city) South East: (region) 11.25 (house prices to gross average earnings)
2@ Winchester, South East: 9.65
3@Truro, South West: 8.57
4@ Bath, South West: 8.05
5@ Brighton And Hove: South East, 7.94
6@ Chichester, South East: 7.71
7@ Westminster, Greater London, 7.60
8@ Salisbury, South West: 7.40
9@ Cambridge, East Anglia: 7.32
10@ Southampton, South East: 7.15
11@ Exeter, South West: 6.95
12@ Bristol, South West: 6.82
13@ Canterbury, South East: 6.75
14@ Norwich, East Anglia: 6.69
15@ St Albans, South East: 6.53
16@ Chelmsford, South East: 6.39
17@ Portsmouth, South East: 6.20
18@ Lichfield, West Midlands: 6.13
19@ Leicester, East Midlands: 6.07
20@ York, Yorkshire and the Humber: 5.98