Revealed: The cheapest towns for single first-time buyers

Published by Hannah Nemeth on 01 March 2018.
Last updated on 01 March 2018

Revealed: The cheapest towns for single first-time buyers

Singletons need to head to the north of England to find the most affordable locations to buy a first home, with the Staffordshire market town of Newcastle-under-Lyme topping the list of cheapest places to buy.

New data from online property portal Zoopla found that single buyers need to set aside 10.8% of their monthly earnings for monthly mortgage repayments on a one-bedroom flat in Newcastle-under-Lyme. This is three times less than the average for England and Wales (35.1%).

 The seaside area of North Tyneside came second (10.9% of monthly earnings needed) and Bradford in Yorkshire came third (11.7%). All top five most affordable places are up north – Kirklees in West Yorkshire (12.3%) was fourth and Blackpool in Lancashire was fifth (12.4%). 

The property portal analysed the average asking prices of one-bedroom flats across England and Wales. Its calculations for mortgage payments were based on an interest rate of 2.4%, 85% loan-to-value (LTV) and repayment of 25 years. Average earnings were taken from Office for National Statistics data.

The North East of England was the cheapest region for single buyers (14.6%), followed by Yorkshire and the Humber (14.7%) and the East Midlands (14.9%). See the table below for the top 10 cheapest local authority areas for single buyers.

Top 10 cheapest local authority areas for single buyers

Rank Local authority Average price for one bed flat Median monthly wage Monthly mortgage repayment Proportion of mortgage repayment out of monthly wage (%)
1 Newcastle-under-Lyme £62,519 £2,175 £236 10.84%
2 North Tyneside £68,713 £2,372 £259 10.92%
3 Bradford £64,768 £2,071 £244 11.79%
4 Kirklees £72,035 £2,201 £272 12.34%
5 Blackpool £63,012 £1,903 £238 12.48%
6 East Riding of Yorkshire £77,134 £2,292 £291 12.69%
7 Wakefield £71,709 £2,104 £270 12.85%
8 Derby £81,677 £2,389 £308 12.89%
9 Wirral £79,191 £2,302 £299 12.97%
10 Sandwell £69,050 £2,007 £260 12.97%

Source: Zoopla, January 2018

Lawrence Hall, spokesperson for Zoopla says: “Buying a property is a notoriously expensive process, and those looking to purchase a home on their own will likely feel the pressure all the more. These figures reveal that the most affordable areas for single buyers tend to be in the north of England, where they can expect to spend a smaller proportion of their monthly earnings on mortgage repayments than in other parts of the country.”

In contrast, the South of England is the region where singletons will struggle to find affordable first-time homes. Cambridge topped the list of the most expensive places for singletons to buy as they would have to sacrifice more than a third of their salary (36.1%) to afford monthly mortgage repayments. This is followed by Hertsmere in Hertfordshire (35.8%), Brighton and Hove (35.5%), Bath in north-east Somerset (35.1%) and Slough (33.6%). 

See the table below for the top 10 most expensive local authority areas for single buyers.

Top 10 most expensive local authority areas for single buyers

Rank Local authority Average price for one bed flat Median monthly wage Monthly mortgage repayment Proportion of mortgage repayment out of monthly wage (%)
1 Cambridge £248,206 £2,590 £936 36.14%
2 Hertsmere £261,311 £2,748 £985 35.85%
3 Brighton and Hove £236,964 £2,513 £893 35.56%
4 Bath and North East Somerset £221,053 £2,372 £833 35.14%
5 Slough £216,420 £2,422 £816 33.69%
6 Epsom and Ewell £256,216 £2,919 £966 33.10%
7 Spelthorne £243,858 £2,778 £919 33.10%
8 Epping Forest £242,891 £2,769 £916 33.07%
9 Oxford £240,532 £2,746 £907 33.02%
10 Windsor and Maidenhead £264,268 £3,044 £996 32.74%

Source: Zoopla, 2018

Unsurprisingly, single buyers in London would need to set aside more than half (57.3%) of their monthly salary – the highest of any region. 

There were, however, huge variations in affordability levels for single buyers in the capital, with outer London boroughs offering pockets of affordability. Bexley, in south-east London, was the cheapest place for single buyers to live, using 28.9% of their monthly wages. Following closely behind are the north-east London boroughs of Havering (29.5%) and Redbridge (30.7%).

This contrasts with the pricey London boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea (82.4%), Westminster (82.1%) and Hammersmith and Fulham (68.4%).

Mr Hall adds: “The capital tells a very different story. Even the very cheapest London boroughs are barely under the national average when it comes to affordability. This highlights just how eye-wateringly expensive the London property market is for single buyers, especially in central London.”

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Since when has Staffordshire

Since when has Staffordshire been in the north of England? Obviously written by someone who rarely ventures beyond Watford.