City homes 'least affordable since 2009'

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The affordability of homes in Scottish cities has sunk to its worst level since 2009, according to a new report.

The average house price in cities rose by almost 3% to £186,000 in the past year, compared with 1% across Scotland.

The rise was steeper than average wage growth over the same period, according to a Bank of Scotland review.

As a result, average home affordability has worsened for the fourth year in a row - from 5.2 to 5.3 times gross average earnings.

Stirling remained the most affordable city for homebuyers in Scotland, and also regained the UK top spot after falling to second place last year.

At £173,848, the average property price there is 3.7 times average gross annual earnings, compared with a UK cities' average of 6.9.

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Edinburgh was once again Scotland's least affordable city, with an average house price of £236,136 - six times annual gross average earnings.

Aberdeen, Perth, Dundee and Inverness made up the top five least affordable cities north of the border, but the latter three - plus Glasgow - were included in the UK's top 20 most affordable spots.

Perth has recorded the biggest price rise of any Scottish city over the past decade, with a gain of 31% compared with the UK cities' average of 21%.

Industry body Homes for Scotland said the deterioration in home affordability was "a worrying trend" for both those looking to purchase in Scotland's cities as well as for the industry as a whole.

Chief executive Nicola Barclay said: "Rents and house prices are continuing to rise as demand outstrips supply, meaning many individuals and families are facing growing pressures and aspirations are being stifled.

"With housing production having fallen by 40% since 2007, but the number of households rising, it is vital that we see the bold action and investment needed to provide enough homes of the right types in the right locations to meet the diverse housing needs of our growing population."