Times haven't been easy for first-time buyers, with rising house prices resulting in the average price for a first home costing £211,000 in today's market, compared with £75,000 in 2000 – a 181% increase in 17 years. That's why a new study has looked at the most affordable places to buy a first home, given the vast regional differences that exist in the UK.
If you look on price alone, then Hatched's analysis shows that the North West and Scotland are the cheapest places for first-time buyers. Specifically, Burnley in Lancashire offers the cheapest average house price of £70,311.72, followed by East Ayrshire in Scotland (£74,687.08).
Of the top 10 most affordable places to buy your first home, three are in the North West, and specifically Lancashire, while five are in Scotland, across various districts. The other two regions included in the top 10 are South Wales (Blaenau Gwent, £75,442.64) and the North East (County Durham, £85,812.71).
If you include the earnings ratio in the calculation, to see where you could still earn a decent wage while enjoying your first home, North Lanarkshire in Central Scotland comes out on top, with a house price versus earnings ratio of 3.3, followed closely by Pendle, Lancashire, with this district in the North West offering a ratio of 3.2.
Aside from location, Hatched also looked at the profile of first-time buyers, and how they have changed over the years. The main change has been a decrease in the number of would-be homeowners able to take that important first step on the housing ladder, with a 27% fall in first-time buyers (from 464,000 in 2000 to 335,750 in 2016).
Predictably, the amount of savings required has increased over the years, with an average of £7,600 in savings required by first-time buyers in 2000, compared with £22,689 in 2017. This explains government incentives such as the Help to Buy ISA and the newer Lifetime ISA, designed to help people save up for the much larger deposit required in this day and age.
Of course, not everyone can pick up and move in pursuit of the lowest house price, with 51% of first-time buyers having children (compared with 20% in 2000). That leaves doing what you can to save the necessary deposit and making sure you compare the market to find both an affordable house and a competitive first-time buyer mortgage.
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