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Britain the 16th most expensive place in the world for a city centre flat

The average price for a two-bed city centre flat in the UK is £227,000, nearly £100,000 more than in Europe (£131,000) and more than double the US average of £111,000.

Research carried out by personal finance comparison website finder.com revealed that the UK is the 16th most expensive nation in the world for a flat based in the city centre, with prices some 52% greater than the global average.

London, as you would expect, is much more expensive than the rest of the UK. A central flat in the capital typically costs buyers over four times more than the UK average. Currently, the average price of a two-bed flat in London stands at £788,000, or £13,328 per square metre, which makes it the world’s second most expensive city to buy an apartment in, second only to Hong Kong.

The research also showed that Brits could purchase five flats in Central Manchester (at an average cost of £144,000) for the price of one city centre London abode.  

Things could be starting to change, though, with uncertainty over Brexit and the housing market denting prices across the country. August witnessed the biggest month-on-month fall in UK house prices in six years, with Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, recently stating that a ‘no deal’ Brexit could see house prices slip by a third.

On a global basis, the most expensive country for buying a city centre flat is Hong Kong. There, a two-bed apartment would cost £1.28 million, followed by Singapore at £781,000 and Switzerland at £543,000.

The most expensive cities in the world for urban flats after Hong Kong, London and Singapore were Beijing at £676,000, Zurich at £670,000 and Shanghai at £667,000.

By contrast, the cheapest nation of the 91 countries with available data is Egypt. A two-bed city centre flat in the country, which links northeast Africa with the Middle East, only costs an average of £27,000. The cheapest city, meanwhile, is Sumy in Ukraine, where a flat would set buyers back just £20,000.

“These statistics show that prices for a city centre flat in the UK are generally comparable to our European and global counterparts,” Jon Ostler, chief executive at finder.com, said.

“London is very much the exception to this rule though, with a central flat being out of reach for almost all young Brits trying to get a foot on the property ladder.”

He added: “If you’re a first-time buyer looking to purchase a flat or house, there are various ways that you can get assistance. Help to Buy schemes allow you to earn tax-free interest, and the government also adds 25% to your savings (up to £3,000), which is a no-brainer if you’re serious about purchasing. People are increasingly looking at Shared Ownership as well. This allows you to purchase part of a flat from a housing association and will result in a lower deposit and monthly payments. You can then purchase more of the flat as and when you’re able to.”

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