Property prices outpace what first-time buyers can afford

New house builds

In the past four years, the average price paid across England by first-time buyers has risen by £42,451, with first-time buyers paying, on average, just over £196,000 to buy their first property, new research has revealed.

Hybrid estate agent has analysed latest Land Registry house price data across England, highlighting which counties are the most affordable for first-time buyers – and where they should avoid. It has also calculated the increase in property value since 2012.

The £42,451 increase in the amount first-time buyers pay for a property equates to a 28% house price rise in the four years between 2012 and 2016. This is a higher rate of growth than England as a whole, where the average house price has risen by 26% in the same time period.

The situation is worse in London, where first-time buyers pay, on average, £462,602, – a £54% price hike since 2012.


England’s cheapest and priciest counties

With the average house price at just £86,116, County Durham offers first-time buyers the best value. Prices have risen by just 3% (£2,600) since 2012 – the lowest across England and far below England’s average of 28%.

Lancashire comes second when it comes to cheap property for first-time buyers, with an average price of £100,027 – up by 9% (£8,675) since 2012. 

Outside London, the commuter belt has the most expensive homes for first-time buyers. Surrey (£323,973), Hertfordshire (£305,043), Berkshire (£292,227), Oxfordshire (£286,962) and Buckinghamshire (£286,511) are the top five most expensive counties for first-time buyers, with average house prices for first-time buyers going up by between £80,000 and £96,000 since 2012.

London’s best and worst areas for first-time buyers

Living in London comes at a premium, with even the cheapest areas outstripping the average house price in England for first-time buyers.

Barking and Dagenham came top in the affordability stakes for first-time buyers at £254,600. Next is Havering at £281,836, with Bexley (£285,464), Croydon (£301,001) and Sutton (£312,978) following on as the top five most affordable London boroughs. Since 2012, these five London boroughs have seen house price hikes of between £95,000 and £118,000.

Unsurprisingly, Kensington and Chelsea (£1.1 million average house price) is the most expensive borough in London for first-time buyers. Westminster (£906,882), City of London (£711,009), Camden (£699,020) and Hammersmith and Fulham (£690,296) are the next most expensive boroughs.


‘We must find a way to bring home ownership back in reach of average buyers’

Russell Quirk, founder and chief executive of, says: “First-time buyers are paying almost as much as second and third steppers in actual price terms, yet the percentage increase in first-time buyer properties is tracking at even greater than regular house prices. It really does highlight the issue facing the nation's next generation of aspirational homeowners.

“How the government expects anyone to get on in life when the first hurdle they face is all but unobtainable is beyond me, especially in London. Over 90% of the capital’s boroughs have seen the price paid by first-time buyers increase by more than £100,000 in just four or so short years.

“We must address this issue and find a way to bring homeownership back in reach of the average homebuyers, not just in London, or the surrounding commuter counties, but to the whole of England.”