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Region’s affordable – especially Blackpool!

Around 70 per cent of areas in the North West now have affordable housing, research has claimed.

Around 70 per cent of areas in the North West now have affordable housing, research has claimed.

Almost three-quarters of local authorities across the North West are affordable to first-time buyers, new research has claimed.

Findings released by the Halifax claim 70 per cent of authority areas in the region are now affordable, in other words include homes which cost up to four times average earnings.

It means the region is one of the most affordable in the country, according to the research, behind only the North East, where 76 per cent of areas are said to be affordable.

And separate figures suggest Blackpool has among the cheapest house prices in the region.

It comes as figures show the number of first time buyers grew by around a fifth in 2013 – the strongest annual increase in more than a decade.

Ultra-low interest rates have helped improve mortgage affordability, the findings say.

In Blackpool, official Land Registry figures show house prices had increased by more than £2,000 between January and November 2013.

But with an average price of £77,404 at the end of the year, the resort was among the cheapest in the region.

The average income in the resort is £29-30,000, official figures show.

By comparison, average prices in the Lancashire County Council area - which includes Fylde and Wyre - were more than £103,000 and in Blackburn the average was £109,602 . In Manchester prices were an average of £95,438

Martin Ellis, a housing economist at Halifax, said: “Low interest rates, improvements in consumer confidence and Government schemes, such as Help to Buy, all appear to have contributed to the rise in the number of first-time buyers.

“However, many potential first-time buyers continue to find raising the necessary deposit a problem.

“The Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme should enable more buyers to get on to the property ladder with smaller deposits. Continuing pressure on household finances during the next 12 months will no doubt remain a constraint.”

Halifax uses a combination of figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders and its own findings to come to its conclusions.

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