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Can You Pay Off A Mortgage Early?

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Lots of people would like to know the answer to this question: can you pay off a mortgage early? The truth is that paying off a mortgage can take a lifetime. But, did you know where you live can affect how long it takes to pay it off? Research from Coulters Property looks at the average house price and average salary in every major town and city in the UK. From there, the average number of hours to pay off your mortgage by region has been worked out.  

We reveal where you will need to work the most, or least, to pay off your mortgage (if you put down a 15% deposit). Let’s take a look! 

The average number of hours needed to pay off your mortgage (by region)

This research doesn’t simply explore the cheapest places to buy a house, but a number of different factors. This includes the average earnings per hour and average mortgage amount. 

Bad news for those who live in the South East, South West, or East of the UK. You’re likely to need to work twice the number of hours to pay off your mortgage than those who live further North. 

RankRegionAverage Earnings per HourAverage House PriceAverage Deposit (15%)Average Mortgage AmountAverage Hours to Pay Off MortgageAverage Number of Work Days (8h)
1London£16.98£489,159£73,374£415,78524,4873,061
2South East£14.80£332,147£49,822£282,32519,0762,385
3East£14.18£296,411£44,462£251,94917,7682,221
4South West£12.85£264,886£39,733£255,15317,5222,190
5West Midlands£12.84£204,886£30,733£174,15313,5631,695
6East Midlands£12.86£202,345£30,352£171,99313,3741,672
7Wales£12.52£172,828£25,924£146,90411,7341,467
8Yorkshire & the Humber£12.51£170,025£25,504£144,52111,5521,444
9North West£12.94£173,617£26,043£147,57411,4051,426
10Northern Ireland£11.99£141,131£21,170£119,96110,0051,251
11Scotland£14.21£155,191£23,279£131,9129,2831,160
12North East£12.35£131,701£19,755£111,9469,0641,133

What does this mean?

Topping the chart, unsurprisingly, is London. Those who get their foot on the property ladder in the capital will need to work an average of 15,423 hours more than those in the North East of the country to pay off their mortgage. 

The South East in general has much higher house prices, £332,147 on average. So, while average wages might be higher than in Northern Ireland (for example), the time needed to pay off the loan is dramatically increased due to these high prices. 

Meanwhile, Scotland boasts high average earnings per hour along with more affordable house prices, meaning it sits towards the bottom of the list.

Average hours needed to pay off mortgage by region

Mortgage hours: the least needed to pay it off (by city)

Let’s break this down further – by looking at specific cities. We know what regions in the UK have the lowest number of working hours, but we can go deeper.

So, what cities require the least hours of work to pay off a mortgage? 

RankTown/CityAverage Mortgage Amount (£)Average Hours To Pay Off MortgageAverage Number of Work Days (8h) To Pay Off Mortgage
1Sunderland£96,6787,905988
2Stoke-on-Trent£99,0818,1351,017
3Dundee£109,8478,2411,030
4Middlesbrough£94,6938,3141,039
5Kingston upon Hull£96,5328,6111,076
6Aberdeen£120,1938,7161,089
7Glasgow£121,2878,7191,090
8Blackpool£92,0448,9971,125
9Liverpool£121,3239,0271,128
10Bradford£123,0729,8461,231

A closer look

In conclusion: it’s much easier to pay off a mortgage up North.

Top of the class is Sunderland, where you won’t just find distinguished and rich British history. The average amount of hours needed to pay off a mortgage is 7,905, which is the lowest in the UK, according to this research. Here, it’s not only easier to save for a mortgage, but also to pay it back.

Also nestled nicely on this list is Glasgow, known for being one of the cheapest places to live, thanks to a good affordability ratio. 

At the bottom of this list, but still more affordable than much of the UK, is Bradford, where you’ll spend an average of 9,846 working hours paying off your mortgage. This is also one of the most affordable places for buying a house alone.

Least average hours needed to pay off mortgage by city

Mortgage hours: the most needed to pay it off (by city)

Let’s take a look at the other end of the spectrum. These are the cities in the UK where you’ll need to spend much longer working in order to pay back your loan. 

RankTown/CityAverage Mortgage Amount (£)Average Hours To Pay Off MortgageAverage Number of Work Days (8h) To Pay Off Mortgage
1London£415,78524,4873,061
2Oxford£363,58022,6952,837
3Cambridge£384,81621,9772,747
4Brighton and Hove£322,18820,6932,587
5Bournemouth£248,88919,5672,446
6Watford£304,47018,9822,373
7Slough£256,25617,5642,195
8Southend-on-Sea£246,84717,0832,135
9Bristol£253,75116,9962,125
10Reading£242,20416,8902,111

Digging deeper 

No surprises here, but once again London tops the charts, closely followed by Oxford, where you’ll need to spend around 22,695 working hours paying off your mortgage. This is quite a jump from Stoke-On-Trent, for example, where the average hours needed to pay back your loan is 8,135.

Brighton is also one of the most difficult places to save for and pay off a mortgage in the UK, and out of all the three seaside towns found on this list. 

At the bottom, but still more than double the working hours required in other UK cities is Reading, at 16,890 on average. 

For those thinking about where to buy, this is handy information. Of course, it’s not the be-all and end-all – but it’s an eye-opener into just how much of a commitment having a mortgage is. 

Most average hours needed to pay off mortgage by city

There are many other factors that should determine where you buy, as you can change many things about a property, but not its location. A property report can uncover essential information about a specific property and its area. It’s a good idea to get one before you buy.

Get Your Property Report Here

Tips to pay off your mortgage quicker

It isn’t just down to your area alone. From interest rates to how clever you are with your savings, many things will impact just how long you’re paying your mortgage back for.

While it may not be possible to follow all of these, here are some tips that could help you pay back your mortgage quicker:

  • Save a higher deposit 
  • Make a lump sum payment (e.g. if you come into some money)
  • Slightly overpay on your mortgage each month
  • Pay off any debts before getting a mortgage, such as credit card bills. This can help you secure a better deal
  • Aim to save at least 3 months’ salary beforehand
  • Shorten the length of your mortgage (if you can afford the higher monthly repayments)

Of course, find a lender you can trust. We can connect you with the right people to help you buy a home.
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Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. Terms and conditions apply to the mortgage decision promise.

Last Updated: April 7th, 2022

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