Richard Carr on the best locations for first-time buyers

In 2018, first-time buyers often face an uphill struggle to get on the housing ladder in. It can be extremely challenging for couples to produce the required deposit, be accepted for an appropriate mortgage, and be able to pay it back.

While it’s difficult for two people attempting to buy a house, it’s even more challenging for solo buyers. However, it’s not all bad news and there are ways to get an affordable deal in the UK. New research from online property hub Zoopla has identified the ten most affordable areas for single buyers looking to make their first step on the property ladder.

Ten most affordable locations

Richard Carr house purchaseThe list from Zoopla is based on a single income and worked out according to the proportion of a monthly wage that has to be used for a mortgage repayment. The research looked at the average price of one-bed flats across the country and worked out the monthly mortgage payment based on a 2.4% deal, and then compared it to the average earnings in those areas.

At number one on the list of most affordable locations in the UK is Newcastle-Under-Lyme. Situated in Staffordshire, near to Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-Under-Lyme offers the chance to buy a one-bedroom flat with an average mortgage repayment of 10.84% of the average monthly wage in the region. This is three times less than the average for the rest of England and Wales (35.14%).

Northern cities most affordable

For solo buyers, the list points towards the north of England as the most affordable area. North Tyneside comes in second to Newcastle-Under-Lyme. In this North Eastern region, buyers only need to use 10.92% of their monthly pay to cover their mortgage.

Bradford in Yorkshire comes in next at 11.79%, followed by Kirklees at 12.34% of a monthly wage needed to pay a mortgage. These are the top five most affordable areas in the UK for first-time single buyers.

More expensive down south

The south of the country offers a more expensive option for individual buyers. Excluding London, Cambridge comes in as the most expensive, as prices mean single buyers would need to use more than a third of their monthly wages (36.14%) to pay their mortgage.

Hertsmere comes in as the next most expensive, followed by Brighton and Hove, where people need to spend 35.56% of their wages on a mortgage. Bath and NE Somerset came in at 35.14%, followed by Slough at 33.69%.

London most expensive

We all know that London is generally the most expensive place to buy any kind of property, and for first-time single buyers it’s no different. The research shows that they would need to set aside almost 83% of their monthly pay to live in an area like Kensington and Chelsea. In nearby Winchester, it’s a tiny bit less at just over 82%.

For people absolutely determined to buy a place in London, then an area like Bexley is more feasible. Here single buyers only need to set aside 28.99% of their monthly pay to afford a mortgage.

Home ownership delayed

Lots of people are increasingly finding themselves priced out of the property market and needing to put their home owning dreams on hold. Delaying home ownership until their salary reaches an amount that allows them to afford a deposit and monthly payments is common.

In 2007, the salary needed to pay a deposit was £17,740 per annum. Today it’s £33,339. There are some options available, such as the government’s shared ownership scheme.

This offers first time buyers an opportunity to buy between 25% and 75% of a home’s value and pay rent on the remaining share. After the property is bought, the buyer can increase their share as and when they can afford to. However, there are expensive conveyancing costs involved with this way of buying a property, and of course, when they want to sell they only get their share of whatever gain has been made.

– Richard Carr