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Gulf between urban and rural borrowers revealed: FCA

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Borrowers in rural parts of the UK are more likely to own their homes outright than those in cities, while Londoners are more likely to have borrowed more than four times their income, a study by the FCA has shown.

The findings come as part of the watchdog’s Financial Lives Survey, which shows the different demographics and economic profile of people across the country.

The report found that the proportion of borrowers whose mortgage debt is
at least four times their household income ranges from 4 per cent in the North East to 23 per cent in London.

The FCA found that in urban areas 25 per cent of adults owned their home outright to 30 per cent average across the UK.

In rural locations the proportion of outright home owners increases to 42 per cent.

In cities 36 per cent are buying with the help of a mortgage compared to a national average of 33 per cent.

In rural areas just 24 per cent are using a mortgage to buy their homes.

Average mortgage debts are similar to the UK average at £127,000 compared to £126,000.

In cities, 30 per cent of people rent, compared to the 29 per cent UK average.

This drops to 27 per cent in rural areas, while in London it rockets to 42 per cent of people renting.

In urban areas average mortgage debts are £127,000, rising to £202,000 in London.

This compares to an average of £126,000 for the whole of the UK and just £123,000 in the countryside.

Hargreaves Lansdown personal finance analyst Sarah Coles says: “The streets of London may be paved with gold, but the houses are built from solid debt.

“The highest average household earnings in the country (£63,000) don’t make up for the cost of housing and higher prices, so Londoners are working to pay their debts – and have little time to build up savings, investments or pensions.

“It is no wonder that only 16 per cent of people in the city are very happy with their financial lives (compared with the UK average of 21 per cent).”

She adds: “In the North East, the cost of living may be lower, but so are average incomes.

“The North East has the lowest average household income in the UK – at £36,000 (compared with an average of £46,000).

“Some 45 per cent of people have no cash savings, and some 11 per cent of people in Yorkshire and The Humber are in financial difficulty.”

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