Top 10 most affordable places for first time buyers

Looking to get onto the property ladder? We reveal the top 10 most affordable places in the UK to buy a house

Scotland has some of the most affordable first time buyers house prices in the UK
(Image credit: Getty Images)

While the property market may look unattainable for first time buyers, some locations are more affordable than others.

It's becoming increasingly challenging for potential new homebuyers to enter the property market. Recent data from Santander shows that 18% of first time buyers are now over 40 - a significant increase from 36 in 2022.

Despite a decline in house prices, mortgage costs remain high, making it difficult for first time buyers to save up for a deposit to bag their first home.  

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If you are willing to be flexible, then you could save thousands on your dream home by settling somewhere affordable.

While London, where house prices have been rising the fastest, is pretty much off the cards, first time buyers may find themselves able to buy in areas such as Scotland and Lanarkshire, according to mortgage broker L&C Mortgages.

“Identifying regions with favourable house-to-income cost ratios shows just how regionalised affordability can be and highlights how some first time buyers may find it easier to get on the property ladder than others," David Hollingworth of L&C Mortgages said.

Talking about how the rankings highlighted the most cost-effective regions in England, especially North East, they added that this will be “welcomed by first time buyers looking in those areas”, and though it can be challenging to get on the property ladder, it “could offer hope to those saving toward their first purchase."

We look at which places are the most affordable areas to save up for a first home and which ones you should steer clear of. 

Most affordable regions in the UK for first time buyers

The data by L&C Mortgages looked at how much people earn and the average house prices bought by first time buyers in different parts of the UK. 

It calculates that an average UK first time homeowner would find it cheapest to buy a house in East Ayrshire and North Ayrshire. The average monthly salary here is £2,268 and house prices would be approximately £103,453.

We’ve rounded up the best regions below to give first time buyers an idea of where to go house-hunting:

1. East Ayrshire and North Ayrshire 

Topping the list is East Ayrshire and North Ayrshire, giving first time buyers a chance to live in a quaint and vibrant Scottish town without breaking the bank. This area boasts the lowest house price standing at an attractive £103,453, but its median salary comes short of just £54 below the UK average, but might be worth considering if you’re looking for a bargain. 

2. North Lanarkshire

In second place is North Lanarkshire, located in the heart of Scotland with easy access to Glasgow and Edinburgh. North Lanarkshire’s housing market is particularly attractive for first time buyers thanks to its affordable prices compared to the rest of the UK. A median first time buyer house price stands at £112,166 while the monthly salary is £2,355, making this area have the third lowest house price in the UK for new homeowners.  

3. Durham County Council

Durham County Council secures the third spot as one of the top places for UK first time buyers, being the first location outside of Scotland to do so. Situated in North East England on the River Wear, this area has a buyer price of £111,454 and a monthly salary of £2,229, which is favourable to first time buyers who want a reasonably priced property.

4. South Lanarkshire along with Inverclyde, East Renfrewshire and Renfrewshire 

South Lanarkshire and the regions of Inverclyde, East Renfrewshire, and Renfrewshire share this joint spot. 

Home to towns like East Kilbride and Hamilton, South Lanarkshire has a property price of £127,974, and its average monthly salary is £2,432. The area provides a good mix of city life while retaining its own distinct identity. 

Also in Scotland are Inverclyde, East Renfrewshire, and Renfrewshire. Though these regions are a bit far from Glasgow, they offer a small-town charm alongside coastal pathways. So you can hop into your car for a 30-minute journey to reach the big city and enjoy the best of both worlds. Here, the median salary stands at £2,390 and the buyer price is £151,264, making it another compelling choice for homebuyers. 

5. East Lanarkshire

Once again, Lanarkshire makes its mark on the rankings, with East Lanarkshire clinching the fifth spot. The area maintains an average first time buyer price of £120,379 and a monthly salary of £2,060. 

6. Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire

In sixth place, stands Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire. This region boasts a median monthly salary of £2,471 and a first time buyer house price of £136,179. It’s an appealing choice for new homeowners looking for high-quality living without denting their wallets.

7. Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees

Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees, located in North East England are known for their maritime heritage and a picturesque coastline and thriving town centres. Despite being smaller in size, both towns offer a strong sense of community, monthly salaries of £2,227, affordable housing prices at £125,088 and transport links to nearby cities like Durham and Newcastle. 

8. Sunderland

In eighth place is Sunderland, a port city in the northeast of England with a rich industrial history and vibrant cultural scene. With a monthly average salary of £2,134 and house prices averaging £120,716, Sunderland comes with great employment opportunities, thriving retail hubs, cultural venues and a stunning coastline. 

9. Falkirk

Falkirk is great if you’re looking for a rural city charm with great housing and a respectable monthly salary that exceeds the national average by £84 a month, standing at £2,406. It’s a picturesque Scottish town with an enticing opportunity for first time buyers, as the town maintains a median first time buyer house price of £138,730.

10. South Ayrshire

Closing the top ten is South Ayrshire, with a monthly salary averaging £2,222 and median house prices standing at £129,357. With easy access to outdoor activities such as hiking, golfing, and beachcombing, South Ayrshire is a great choice for outdoor activities and a higher quality of life. 

Least affordable regions in the UK for first time buyers

Pink Magnolia Blossoms Adorn London's Streets in Spring

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In contrast, there are some places where new homeowners might struggle to find a reasonably priced property. Unsurprisingly London dominates the list, with the top ten most expensive areas being situated within London. This includes Kensington, Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham as being the most daunting spots. 

But outside of London, many first time property owners could find it difficult to climb up the property ladder as well. Places like Brighton and Hove, Buckinghamshire County Council and Bristol chart in the top 25 spots, but it also includes areas such as Surrey, West Essex and West Kent.

1. Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham

These prestigious London boroughs offer luxurious living but come with a high price tag, boasting median monthly earnings of £3,261 and a staggering median house price of £792,899.

2. Westminster

Situated at the heart of the capital, Westminster might be an ideal choice for every homeowner due to its historic charm and modern living. However, it comes with a whopping first time buyer house price of £789,208 and residents living there earn a median monthly salary of £3,365.

3. Camden and City of London

Camden and the City of London take the third spot in the most expensive regions to live in for first time buyers, offering median monthly earnings of £3,252 and a median first time buyer house price of £722,480. 

4. Haringey and Islington

These north London neighbourhoods require a monthly earning of £2,845 and a median house price of £591,780.

5. Hackney and Newham

With median monthly earnings of £2,450 and a median first time buyer house price of £496,814, Hackney and Newnham are vibrant London hubs where you can get by at a relatively affordable cost, but not if you’re a first time buyer. 

6. Brent

Brent has a median monthly earning of £2,353 for residents, but for aspiring homeowners looking to invest, it could cost you can average of £448,808. 

7. Hounslow and Richmond upon Thames

Nestled in the southwest of London, Hounslow and Richmond upon Thames require a considereable investment from first time buyers as it’s a sought-after area, offering average salaries of £2,721 per month and a median house price of £510,727.

8. Barnet

North London's Barnet offers a suburban charm, but its monthly median earnings of £2,568 and house prices of £473,821 signal several challenges for those seeking entry into the property market in this locale. 

9. Redbridge and Waltham Forest

If you want to buy a house in East London's Redbridge and Waltham Forest, you would have to chuck out an average of £450,199. The median monthly earnings in this area is £2,522.  

10. Enfield

Situated in the northern reaches of London, Enfield presents itself as a serene suburban haven, away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. However, due to its highly accessible reach to central London, it is an attractive option for commuters and families, bringing up the first time buyer house price to £395,180, while those living in the area earn about £2,289 a month. 

Oojal Dhanjal

Oojal has a background in consumer journalism and is interested in helping people make the most of their money.
Before joining MoneyWeek, she worked for Look After My Bills, a personal finance website where she covered guides on household bills and money-saving deals.
Her bylines can be found on Newsquest, Voice Wales, DIVA and Sony Music and she has explored subjects ranging from luxury real estate to the cost of living, politics and LGBTQIA+ issues.
Outside of work, Oojal enjoys travelling, going to the movies and learning Spanish with a little green owl.