Which City is the Most Affordable for First Time Buyers?

First-time buyers up and down the country know just how challenging it is to get a foot on the housing ladder, no matter where you live. City life is more expensive still, but new research from property website Zoopla has revealed some UK cities are more accessible than others as far as first-time buyers are concerned.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the southern half of the UK is absent when it comes to the top 10 most affordable cities. While just one is in Wales and none of the top 10 slots are in Scotland, the north of England is far more likely to turn up some interesting prospects. Six out of the top 10 can be found in this part of the country.

The most affordable city for first-time buyers is…

… Hull. Situated close to the north-eastern coast of England, Hull came in first position with an average property price of £104,376. That made the average deposit £15,656, according to Zoopla. This was closely followed by Middlesbrough in second place, with an average property price of £107,041 and an average deposit of £16,056.

In third place was Liverpool, with a jump up to an average figure of £122,137. The average deposit required for a first-time buyer to get onto the housing ladder there was £18,320.

A north-south divide

In stark contrast with the more affordable north, the south was home to eight out of the bottom 10 locations – i.e. those that are least affordable for first-time buyers to aspire to.

It comes as no surprise to find London in bottom place, with an average price reaching an eye-watering £518,178. This meant the average deposit was a huge £77,727. Next came Cambridge, swiftly followed by Brighton.

No major surprises

“This data makes interesting reading,” said Darren Pescod, CEO of The Mortgage Broker Limited. “There are no major surprises here, and few will be amazed to see how out of reach London is for would-be first-time buyers living nearby.

“However, it is reassuring to see there are still several cities that do offer first-time buyers an accessible opportunity to get onto the housing ladder. The difference between the deposit required for the average London property compared to the average one in Hull is huge and is one reason why lots of people in the south-east and south of England are still struggling to get onto the housing ladder.”

Stamp Duty changes should help

The recent changes in Stamp Duty will see a lot more people escaping the need to pay the tax on their first property purchase. Many properties in the most affordable cities mentioned above will escape that tax if bought by first-time buyers. That must surely be good news.

Saving for the all-important deposit is always a challenge for first-time buyers. But as this data shows, it is proving to be a greater challenge for those looking to buy in cities in the south than is the case for those in northern England.

Published on 3 February 2020

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