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Business briefing: Buyers ‘need to earn £54k’ for first home

FIRST-TIME buyers hoping to get on the property ladder in major cities need an average household income of £54,400, a report says.

Zoopla, which analysed house prices in the UK’s 20 biggest cities, said the average annual income needed ranges from £26,100 in Liverpool to £84,000 in London — up by £4,500 on average over the past three years. But there was slight relief in London, with the average household income needed falling £3,300 since 2016 due to a price stall.

The research was based on households spending 30 per cent of take-home pay on mortgages, with buyers borrowing no more than four times their income.

It assumed buyers would have a 15 per cent deposit, rising to 25 per cent in London, Oxford and Cambridge. Average mortgage rates were used to calculate repayments over a 30-year term.

Outside London, Cambridge (£76,000) and Oxford (£70,800) require the highest first-time buyer income, although they have also seen falls in the past three years.

Apart from Liverpool, the areas with the lowest average incomes needed were Glasgow (£26,600) and Newcastle (27,200). Leicester (£38,000) had the biggest percentage rise of 20 per cent, followed by Manchester and Birmingham but Aberdeen (£33,700) fell 12 per cent.

Richard Donnell, of Zoopla, said first-time buyers account for more than one in three sales. He added that weaker growth and recent price falls had led to a five per cent reduction in the income to buy in the most expensive cities which would be a ‘modest relief’.

■ MORTGAGE approval figures showed ‘surprising strength’ last month despite uncertainty over Brexit, according to UK Finance. Some 42,384 home loans were approved, slightly down on the 42,898 in April, which was the highest month since February 2017. But experts warned that the housing market could be held back by ‘prolonged political uncertainty’ with potential buyers becoming ‘cautious’.

Over £10bn ‘lost on worker visits to doc’

MEDICAL appointments could cost the economy £10billion in lost hours per year, says a poll.

Workers said they miss an average of four days work each year for medical advice, costing £437.76 each — £10,177,920,000 if applied across the country.

More than seven in ten think their GP should be open more.

Helen Smith, of health and wellbeing provider Benenden Health, which commissioned the study of 2,000, said: ‘We should be changing the way we view workplace sickness.

‘Forward-thinking workplaces are including initiatives such as free access to GP helplines.’

On Millionaire’s Row… record number of £1m property sales

THE number of £1million UK property sales rose one per cent to a record 14,638 last year — despite a cooldown in London. Homes sold for more than £2million were down slightly, from 2,530 in 2017 to 2,501, according to Lloyds Bank. It came as sales of seven-figure houses fell flat in London and the south-east, which account for about eight in ten. Lloyds’ Louise Santaana said the luxury property boom ‘has decelerated’.

BUSINESS BITES

■ FASHION retailer Bonmarche said first quarter trading was so ‘poor’ it is now backing a £5.7million takeover bid by billionaire Philip Day. The chain rejected an offer by the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group owner in April.

■ BRITISH AIRWAYS pilots and London Underground staff yesterday began voting over possible strikes. BA’s 40,000 staff are in dispute over pay while 2,000 Tube staff will be balloted over likely job losses.

■ ICE cream giant Froneri saw sales jump last year, helped by the hot summer. The Fab and Kelly’s maker’s sales rose 3.6 per cent to £2.3billion. Operating profits were up 62 per cent to £217million after new investments.