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Big divide in cost of housing revealed

AN AVERAGE home in the most expensive part of Britain costs 25 times more than a similar property in the cheapest area of Scotland, according to research which underlines the stark divide in the housing market.

A house price survey covering 376 council areas across the UK found that while a three-bedroom family house in Kensington and Chelsea sells for around £1.8 million, in East Ayrshire, such a property goes for £72,500.

The second-cheapest area was also in Scotland, in Falkirk, where a three-bedroom home costs £78,000, while third cheapest was Blaenau Gwent, in Wales (£80,000), followed by Liverpool (£82,000).

The data, compiled by Hometrack, property analysts, show how prices in even the most affordable parts of the South East stand in marked contrast to cities elsewhere, the most expensive of which was Edinburgh, where the average home sells for £240,000.

The research also shows the high earnings required to afford property in the most expensive areas. To cover a mortgage on a three-bedroom property in Kensington and Chelsea, a family needs an annual pre-tax household income of £462,214. In East Ayrshire, however, they would need to earn just £18,617.

Richard Donnell, of Hometrack, said the inner London market was being "driven by cash purchases and interest-only mortgages, which aren't available to everyone".

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