House prices still high for Borders first time buyers

HOUSE prices are affordable for first-time buyers in 93 per cent of Scottish local authority areas, but the Borders remains one of the least affordable places to buy for people on average earnings.

The region has long suffered from a reputation of low wages, and that has left it trailing at the bottom end of the table of local authority areas where first-time buyers’ wages stack up against house prices.

The Borders comes in at number 22 out of a list of 28 Scottish local authority areas - South Ayrshire being the most affordable and Aberdeenshire the least affordable. The ratio of house prices against local wages in South Ayshire is 2.45, whereas in the Borders prices are 3.7 per cent higher than wages. And East Lothian doesn’t fair much better, coming in at 20th on the table of Scottish local authorities with a price to earning ration of 3.53.

The proportion of Scottish towns and cities that are affordable for first-time buyers (93per cent) is at its highest since 2005, according to the latest Bank of Scotland’s review and is more than double the number of affordable areas at the peak of the housing market in 2007.

Nitesh Patel, housing economist at Bank of Scotland, commented: “With first-time buyers forming a vital part of the Scottish housing market, it is clearly encouraging that the number of those getting onto the property ladder for the first time may well increase this year, albeit from a historically low level. This partly reflects the substantial improvement in home affordability for first-time buyers since 2007, following the fall in house prices over the period.

“However, the continued uncertainty over the outlook for the Scottish economy and the difficulties faced by many in raising the necessary deposit remain significant hurdles for those wishing to buy their first home.”