Where can British first-time buyers get the best deals?

Research from the national estate agent, Keller Williams UK, has revealed where the most and least affordable British locations are for first-time buyers in each region of the British property market.


First-time buyers are in a tricky situation at the moment. The pandemic and the government’s subsequent intervention in the British housing market, such as the SDLT holiday, has created a surge in demand while supply has remained static. As such, house prices have risen at an unprecedented pace and first-time buyers are struggling to compete with well-funded buyers, many of whom are relocating from city to country.


To identify where first-timers still have a good chance of securing a home, Keller Williams UK has studied each region of Great Britain to identify its least and most affordable locations for first-time buyers.


In the East of England, the average first-time buyer home is valued at £260,814. The most affordable place in the area is Great Yarmouth, where the average first-time buyer home costs just £155,134, -41% less than the regional average.


The East’s least affordable location is, unsurprisingly, Cambridge where an average first-time buyer house price of £425,666 makes it 66% more expensive than the regional average.


In the West Midlands, where the average first-time buyer home costs £181,457, buyers might be wise to look closely at Stoke-on-Trent where they can get on the ladder for £110,110 on average, -39% below the average.


The West Midlands’ least affordable location is Stratford-upon-Avon where the average price of £275,633 is 52% higher than the regional average.


In the booming North West housing market, the average first-time buyer home comes in at £155,036. The region’s most affordable location is Burnley, Lancashire, where the average home costs just £95,541 for an FTB, -38% below the regional average.


The least affordable location in the North West is Trafford, Greater Manchester, where the average price of £264,551 makes it 71% more expensive for a first-time buyer compared to the regional average.


Nowhere in Britain has the housing market seen more dramatic change over the past 18 months than Wales – prices here have risen more than anywhere else.  But there are still some brilliant opportunities for first-time buyers, not least in Merthyr Tydfil, roughly 20 miles north of Cardiff.  Here, the average first-time home costs just £99,176, -38% below the Welsh average.


At the opposite end of the spectrum, Wales’ least affordable first-time buyer location is Monmouthshire where an average price of £227,747 makes it 42% more expensive than the regional average.


The most and least affordable locations in the remaining British regions are as follows:

Scotland (Ave. £130,191)

Most Affordable = East Ayrshire (-35%);  Least Affordable = Edinburgh (+80%)

London (Ave. £428,026)

Most Affordable = Barking & Dagenham (-31%); Least Affordable = Kensington & Chelsea (+129%)

Yorkshire & Humber (Ave. £154,394)

Most Affordable = City of Kingston upon Hull (-30%); Least  Affordable = York (+59%)

South East (Ave. £272,380)

Most Affordable = Southampton (-28%); Least Affordable = Elmbridge (+64%)

South West (Ave. £229,379)

Most Affordable = Plymouth (-27%); Least Affordable = Bath and North East Somerset (+42%)

East Midlands (Ave. £179,698)

Most Affordable = Bolsover (-26%); Least Affordable = South Northamptonshire (+59%)

North East (Ave. £124,251)

Most Affordable = County Durham (-17%); Least Affordable = North Tyneside (+28%)


CEO of Keller Williams UK, Ben Taylor, commented:


“It all comes back to that overused phrase: Location, Location, Location. It’s a cliche for a reason.

“For first-time buyers, location might be more important than anything else, not least for those who are looking for so-called starter homes but don’t want to move too far away from the workplaces or communities they have come to love.


“It’s great, therefore, to be able to show that amazing deals can still be found without having to sacrifice too much on your desired location. First-timers who want to buy in Trafford, for example, only have to move 35 miles away to Burnley in order to save almost £170,000.  The same distance applies to buyers in Monmouthshire who can save £129,000 by instead buying in Merthyr Tydfil.


“We live on a small island and this data shows how we have incredibly varied housing markets situated next door to one another. First-time buyers don’t have to compromise too much on their desired location in order to land a great deal.


“Furthermore, it’s interesting to see how cities are falling out of favour with first-time buyers as a result of changing work patterns and life choices brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the South East, for example, where one would naturally assume the most affordable areas to also be the most rural, we see the opposite is now true. The most affordable location is Southampton, a major city, while the least affordable is Elmbridge, an area of small countryside towns with direct links to London.


“It’s clear that first-time buyers no longer want to live in the hustle and bustle of big cities, but still want easy access to them when needed.”