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UK’s favourite soap stars priced out of today’s property market

7th Feb 19 10:25 am

Getting on the ladder in this day and age is hard and it doesn’t get any easier in soap land. Research by One 77 Mortgages has looked at some of the nation’s favourite soap stars and whether they would be able to buy in their on-screen neighbourhood in the current market climate.

First One 77 looked at the price increase of each character’s property from the time they joined their respective soaps to the present day. They then looked at the occupation and average earnings for each character before comparing it to the salary required to secure the average mortgage at 4.5 times the property’s current value less a 10% deposit.

Ian Beale has been a firm favourite on Albert Square for years and in the process has held a number of occupations. When he first moved to the square in 1985 a property in the area would have cost £65,000 on average. A 1,042% increase since then means despite his inconsistent professional life, Ian’s sitting on £743,000 worth of bricks and mortar.

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However, with the average small business owner taking home around £29,000 a year, Ian would be pretty shy of the £148,609 minimum income required to secure a mortgage if he was to buy the same house today.

Charlie Fairhead has been in Casualty since 1986 and in that time, the average semi-detached house price in Bristol has increased 982% from £43,845 to £474,225. Despite his commitment to the NHS, Charlie’s modern-day wage of £26,252 means he would be priced out of the market by over £68,000, with his annual income having to hit £94,845 in order to be accepted for a mortgage.

Since joining Emmerdale in 1986, Eric Pollard will have seen the price of his detached house in Arncliffe increase by over 2000%. However, if he was looking to buy today, the average income of a B&B owner wouldn’t cut it, with Eric nearly £63,000 short of the £91,937 income required to secure a mortgage.

The longest-serving member, Christine Barford of the Archers, would have been on about £54,000 as a stable owner before she retired. Having bought in 1953 for just over £2,000 the price of a detached home in Cutnall Green would have increased by 21355% today! But if she was looking to buy today, she would still be short over £44,000 of the £98,992 she would need to earn to secure a mortgage.

The same goes for Tony Hutchinson, Ken Barlow, Jac Naylor and Hywel Llywelyn, who would all be priced out of their respective local markets if they tried to buy today.

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In fact, just Jimmi Clay would be ok with his GP salary of just shy of £70,000 when securing a mortgage on a terraced house in Birmingham B29.

Alastair McKee, managing director of One77 Mortgages said, “Unfortunately for our best-loved soap stars, the cost of getting on the ladder today would see many of them resigned to the rental sector. Luckily for them, they took that first step when prices weren’t as high and as a result have benefited from some very healthy price growth across the board.

“Of course, this research is just a bit of fun and in many cases mortgage affordability would be bolstered by a partner or spouses’ income, but it does raise a more serious issue. Regardless of property type, profession and location, there is a huge disparity between the price of UK property and the wages on offer and it highlights the struggle facing many aspirational buyers today when trying to secure a mortgage.”

Character Soap Started Location Property Type Average price when first joining Current Average Change %
Christine Barford The Archers 1953 Cutnall Green Detached £2,307.00 £494,959 21355%
Ken Barlow Coronation Street 1960 Manchester M3 Terraced £1,664.00 £209,985 12519%
Eric Pollard Emmerdale 1986 Arncliffe Detached £21,389 £459,684 2049%
Ian Beale Eastenders 1985 London E3 Terraced £65,072 £743,046 1042%
Charlie Fairhead Casualty 1986 Bristol BS1 Semi-detached £43,845 £474,225 982%
Tony Hutchinson Hollyoaks 1995 Liverpool L16 Semi-detached £30,140 £239,319 694%
Hywel Llywelyn Pobol y Cwm 1990 Gwendraeth Valley Semi-detached £34,599 £145,791.00 321%
Jac Naylor Holby City 2005 Bristol BS1 Semi-detached £187,931 £474,225 152%
Jimmi Clay Doctors 2005 Birmingham B29 Terraced £123,760 £228,236 84%


Character Soap Occupation Typical salary Income required For mortgage in 2019 Mortgage affordability Gap
Ian Beale Eastenders Small Business Owner £28,759 £148,609 -£119,850.2
Charlie Fairhead Casualty Nurse £26,252 £94,845 -£68,593.0
Eric Pollard Emmerdale B&B Owner £29,203 £91,937 -£62,733.8
Christine Barford The Archers Retired stables owner £54,456 £98,992 -£44,535.8
Tony Hutchinson Hollyoaks Small Business Owner £28,759 £47,864 -£19,104.8
Ken Barlow Coronation Street Retired £27,939 £41,997 -£14,058.0
Jac Naylor Holby City Surgeon £89,392 £94,845 -£5,453.0
Hywel Llywelyn Pobol y Cwm Local radio DJ £24,542 £29,158 -£4,616.2
Jimmi Clay Doctors GP £69,463 £45,647 £23,815.8

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