If you’re a first-time buyer looking to get on the property ladder in 2021, it can be difficult to know where to start – especially in uncertain times like we’ve experienced in 2020.
Many first-time buyers probably feel like their dream of home ownership is out of reach.
But the truth is, there are lots of great places in the UK where property prices remain affordable for first-timers.
Here, we’ll look at some of those places, as well as some of the numbers that make them affordable, too.
Buying a house as a first-time buyer: Where to start
When you’re starting out on the journey to owning your first home, there’s a lot to consider – and that’s even before we get to purchase prices.
Before you start browsing the property portals or exploring estate agent window displays, here are three key things you need to think about:
You may already be set on the location you want to live in.
But have you explored other areas, even just to rule them out?
Think carefully about what you need from your chosen location now, but also what you’ll need from it in the future.
Do you need easy access to a train station or road links for work?
Is it close enough to family, friends and your social life?
Will you need to be close to good schools, if you’re planning on having a family in the near future?
2 Market research
Make sure you look at how property prices are performing in the areas you’re keen on.
The best way to get the most accurate and up-to-date information is to speak to your local Whitegates branch, who will be able to give you a great summary of the kind of prices you might have to pay for the property you want.
Buying a property is the biggest financial commitment you’ll make in your lifetime – unless you win the Lottery!
So, you need to be certain the kind of property you want to buy is affordable and that your finances are in order, so your mortgage application process runs smoothly.
Check your credit score and try to clear any debt you have before you apply.
Best locations for first-time buyers
Here are some great places where property prices remain largely affordable for first-time buyers.
Using a deposit-to-income ratio of below one, these five locations are among the most affordable places to buy your first home in the North West, East and West Midlands and Yorkshire & The Humber…
Located halfway between Yorkshire powerhouses Sheffield and Leeds, Barnsley is a great place to get that first foot on the property ladder.
Surrounded by amazing green space, Barnsley offers rugged and characterful stone-built properties that are ideal for first-timers.
Average property price: £140,441
Average salary: £28,340
Deposit required (15%): £21,066
Deposit to income ratio: 0.74
Bradford is a city full of culture, not to mention one with a blossoming start-up business scene and large amounts of regeneration.
It’s also a city that is well situated, being just eight miles from Leeds and 39 from Manchester, and affordable for first-time buyers.
Average property price: £131,104
Average salary: £27,144
Deposit required (15%): £19,665
Deposit to income ratio: 0.72
The jewel in North Wales’ crown, Wrexham offers buyers superb schools, great outdoor space, the third oldest professional football team in the UK and, as you’d expect, some great, affordable properties.
Average property price: £179,221
Average salary: £28,392
Deposit required (15%): £26,883
Deposit to income ratio: 0.94
Liverpool is one of those cities that really does have something for everyone.
Steeped in cultural history thanks to the Beatles, Liverpool FC and the famous River Mersey, Liverpool also offers first-time buyers some great sister towns with affordable properties, like Huyton, Bootle and Birkenhead.
Average property price: £170,839
Average salary: £29,796
Deposit required (15%): £25,625
Deposit to income ratio: 0.86
A traditional market town in Nottinghamshire, Mansfield offers buyers a range of properties and some great open spaces – not least, legendary Sherwood Forest, which is on the outskirts of the town.
Average property price: £153,563
Average salary: £24,336
Deposit required (15%): £23,034
Deposit to income ratio: 0.94
Changes to stamp duty and pent-up demand following the coronavirus lockdown has seen the UK property market buoyant since restrictions were lifted.
But is it really a good time to buy a house? Our piece examines that question…
We took gross weekly median earnings from the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) Annual Survey for Hours and Earnings 2019*, to work out annual salaries for towns and cities in the North West, the West and East Midlands and Yorkshire & The Humber.
We then took average house prices from Zoopla data for those towns and cities and worked out the cost of a 15% deposit based on those figures. From that, we looked at deposit to income ratios of below one to come up with our five first-time buyer hotspots across these areas of the UK.
*2020 survey results have not yet been published due to the Covid-19 pandemic.