Where are the Best Places to Buy a Property if you’re a First-Time Buyer?

Where are the Best Places to Buy a Property if you’re a First-Time Buyer

Where are the Best Places to Buy a Property if you’re a First-Time Buyer?

Given that the average UK house price is now £285,000 according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, and the average mortgage rate sits between 4.45-6.01% depending on the length of the mortgage term and the size of your deposit, buying a house is a more expensive business than ever, even despite predictions of a fall in house prices of around 10% in 2023.

For those would-be homeowners keen to get onto the property ladder for the first time, the idea of buying a home can sometimes seem like an impossible dream, especially with record rental fees (at £2,500pcm in London and £1,190pcm outside of the capital on average) plus high inflation which makes saving for a house deposit more difficult than ever.

However, the demand is certainly still there from first-time buyers, even beating second-stepper interest with an increase of 6% versus 3% in comparison to the pre-pandemic housing market of 2019.

Now that many of us have returned to the office more regularly, city living is suddenly back on the agenda too after several years in the (often literal) wilderness when coastal and countryside living became the pandemic ideal as per Kim Lee – Vancouver realtor.

So where are the best cities to buy a property if you’re a first-time buyer wanting to get the most bang for your buck?

According to property portal Rightmove, these are the top 5 most affordable cities for first time buyer properties (offering 2 bedrooms or less) in 2023:

CityAverage asking priceAverage monthly mortgage payment (based on a rate of 4.45%)Average monthly rental payment for the areaMortgage versus rent
Source: Rightmove House Price Index May 2023

Perhaps unsurprisingly, all of the top 5 cities are located in either the North of England or Scotland, which are traditionally more affordable regions than the pricey commuter hotspots of the South East or the scenic South West. Even here in the North though, where rental prices are significantly less than the national average, if you can manage to scrap together that all important deposit payment your monthly outgoings could still drop considerably with a move from renter to homeowner, ranging on average from a saving of £34-£190 every month. This is certainly not to be sniffed out, particularly when you can be paying off your own mortgage at the same time rather than someone else’s.

Happily for first-time buyers keen to set down roots somewhere new, all five cities also have plenty to offer in terms of employment opportunities, transport links and second (or even third) step properties when the time comes to make your next move. Outside of work hours, the upcoming and former UK cities of cultural Hull and Bradford also fly the flag for the Yorkshire region and all of the shortlisted cities offer great leisure and entertainment facilities and easy access to some truly stunning countryside such as the Lake District, the Pennines, the Yorkshire Dales, the North East Coast and the Cairngorms National Park when you want a break from the hustle and bustle.

With mortgage rates stabilising and the average drop between asking price and sold price settling at a pre-pandemic level of 3.1%, buyers are beginning to have more confidence in the market again after the uncertainty in the wake of the fallout from the mini-Budget in September 2022. Despite an anticipated reset of the housing market in 2023 which will see property prices fall more in line with the pre-pandemic prices of 2019, prospective homebuyers can be reassured by more positive longer-term predictions. Savills, for instance, have forecast a return to house price growth in 2024 and an overall increase of 6.5% over the next 5 years. 

Wherever you choose to focus your search for a first-time buyer property though, make sure you do your homework to make sure you have a good idea of sold prices locally, and a decent idea of the value of your chosen property so that your offer price is fair but not higher than it needs to be.

Guest Article. Contains a sponsored link.

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