Where can I afford to live?

Whether you are house-hunting or just daydreaming, try using this calculator to see where in the country you could afford to live - and would it be cheaper to rent or buy?

Enter your requirements and how much you'd like to pay on rent or mortgage repayments each month to see places in your price range.

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The prices shown alongside the local authorities are what you would pay each month. Some parts of the country may remain "not affordable" because the calculator assumes you need a deposit of at least 5% to get a mortgage.

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If there are 100 properties of the right size in an area and they are placed in order of price with the cheapest first, selecting "cheaper end of the market" will give you the price of the 25th property, "mid-priced" will give the 50th and "expensive" will give the 75th.

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This is how much you want to spend each month on rent or mortgage payments - not including any other bills.

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The "Where can I afford to live?" calculator uses pricing and rental data for October 2013 to March 2014 provided by residential property analysts Hometrack.

The affordability of housing varies widely across the country and will depend on whether you want to rent or buy. House prices and rents can differ as a result of market factors such as the state of the local economy, transport links and the supply of housing.

Lower mortgage rates have made it easier for some households to buy a home if they have sufficient equity to put down as a deposit. But for others, the need for higher deposits has been a barrier to home ownership.

This has increased demand for private renting and in many parts of the country renting costs more than buying with an 80% mortgage.

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Monthly mortgage payments are based on the figures calculated by the Bank of England from rates currently being offered by banks and building societies. The rate used is the one for two year, fixed rate mortgages, so would only be relevant for the first two years of the loan.

Every month, the Bank of England brings out figures for people wanting a mortgage for 75% or 90% or 95% of the value of the property they want to buy. So currently the calculator assumes you need a deposit of at least 5% of the value of the property to get a mortgage.

House prices are based on sales recorded by the Land Registry and Registers of Scotland plus Red Book mortgage valuation - where a surveyor has valued a property for the purpose of mortgage lending.

The rents are based on monthly prices being asked for by landlords.

In Northern Ireland, where much fewer properties are sold, the data includes asking prices and mortgage valuations. We have no rental data for Northern Ireland.

The map may suggest that you can't afford to live where you are living now - but this might be because the price of property in your area and interest rates have changed since you got your mortgage. If you were trying to get a mortgage to buy your house today, you might need a bigger deposit and larger monthly payments.

If there are fewer than 25 properties matching your criteria in an area, it will come up with "no data". Figures based on a smaller number of properties would be unreliable.

If you hover over an area to see much you have to pay and see a negative price - your deposit and monthly payments are more than the value of the property.

The calculator was produced by: Dominic Bailey, Ransome Mpini, Anthony Reuben, Helene Sears

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