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Research reveals first time buyer affordable hot spots

Some 56% of properties across the UK are in areas that are affordable for first time buyers with all of Blackpool, Lincoln and Kingston upon Hull 100% affordable, new research has found.

The figures from the Post Office Money, based on analysis of Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, shows there are many affordable locations across the country for first time buyers.

At an average price of £110,000, Blackpool is the most affordable for first time buyers who have an average income of £40,053, followed by Lincoln with an average price of £149,00 and an average income of £40,913, then Kingston upon Hull with an average price of £115,000 and an average first time buyer income of £38,665.

Next is Knowsley on Merseyide where 95% of home are affordable for first time buyers with an average income of £40,053 and an average price of £163,000. Stoke on Trent and Southampton are 94% affordable with an average price of £116,000 and £215,000 respectively.

In the last year, Rotherham has seen the biggest shift in affordability for first time buyers. While the number of affordable properties has shrunk by 18%, some 79% of neighbourhoods in the city are still affordable for the average first time buyer’s budget, which means it’s still a good option for local aspiring home owners. The report says this has been driven by wage growth in the area fuelling the number of potential first time buyers and increasing demand.

Meanwhile, prospective house hunters in Ipswich have seen the most opportunity over the course of the last year, with the biggest increase in the number of properties in areas affordable to first time buyers, a 6% increase to 88%. This is a result of the trend for falling house prices in the South of England, the first time prices have fallen in the region since the last recession in 2009. This has been attributed to a number of economic factors including Brexit uncertainty.

On the whole, popular commuter hubs in the South continue to make up the majority of least affordable locations for first time buyers in the UK, with Cambridge, Woking and Surrey all seeing a lack of opportunity. Oxford ranks as the least affordable commuter location for new home owners, with average property prices reaching £392,500 and with no properties currently in areas considered affordable to first time buyers.

However, one of last year’s least affordable locations, Reading, has seen a 6% rise in the number of properties in the region which are affordable for first time buyers. The area had no properties in areas considered affordable in the region in 2017, but rising wages in the South East coupled with lower house prices in certain areas has opened up part of the city to new home owners.

Similarly, locations within a short distance of Manchester, such as Wigan and Oldham, are some of the UK’s most affordable areas for first time buyer commuters at 90% and 88% affordability, respectively. This could be due to an increase in housing stock and affordable home schemes in both areas, the report suggests.

‘While we have seen house price growth slow in the last year, properties can still seem particularly unaffordable for first time buyers. We know that saving for a deposit remains the most significant hurdle for young buyers to overcome in order to achieve their home ownership aspirations,’ said Ross Hunter from Post Office Money.

‘It can take years of dedicated effort in order to gather the necessary funds. There are a number of ways that prospective home owners can reduce their time spent saving, such as taking on a fixer upper property or looking in a cheaper area close to where they might have previously considered,’ he added.