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The cheapest places to buy a house in the UK
The UK's cheapest and most expensive cities to buy a property.
The average city dweller in the UK will need to save up for 12 years in order to afford a down payment on a home and get on the property ladder. However, across the UK’s biggest 35 cities, the difference between the city with the longest wait and the city with the shortest wait is over 18 years.
In this article, we’ve calculated how long it takes to save up for a mortgage deposit in the UK’s 35 largest cities. By comparing the average salary in each city with the average local house prices, we’ve worked out how long Brits would take to save 16% of the average property value in their area (a typical mortgage down payment) if they saved 15% of their monthly income in an account with an average savings rate.
- Sunderland is the city where locals can afford a property in the shortest period of time. It takes locals 6 years and 8 months to save for a desposit on average
- It takes Londoners 24 years and 11 months to save for a desposit on average, making it the city with longest wait to get on the property ladder
- The average time it takes for residents of the UK’s biggest 35 cities to save up for a property is 12 years
- The average deposit needed to buy a property in the UK’s biggest 35 cities is £40,800
What is the cheapest city to buy a house in the UK?
What is the average wait to get on the property ladder in the UK?
A typical down payment in the UK is often set at 16% of the property’s value and the average urban property price is £254,900. So, with the average savings account in the UK having an annual interest rate of 1.18%, it would take city dwellers 12 years to save up for the average deposit amount of £40,800, assuming they earn the UK average salary of £27,031.
Here you can see an interactive map of all 35 cities included in the study.
The easiest cities in the UK to afford a down payment
Sunderland is the UK city in which residents can buy a property in the shortest amount of time. Locals are able to afford a down payment after 6 years and 8 months – 10 months sooner than anywhere else in the UK. This is due to Sunderland residents earning more than those in 10 other cities in the study, while also enjoying the lowest average property price of £127,500.
Bradford locals can enjoy the second shortest wait to get on the property ladder, with the ability to purchase a property in 7 years and 6 months. The city’s average wage is the joint second-lowest of the 35 cities and it has the second-lowest average property price of £137,800, which gives locals the opportunity to get on the ladder quicker than most other cities.
Belfast and Hull are the cities with the third-fastest timelines for buying a home. Despite those in Belfast earning an extra £2,500 per year (gross), it also has higher property prices, meaning that people in both cities will need to save for 7 years and 10 months to get on the property ladder.
The hardest cities in the UK to afford a down payment
London is where buyers spend the longest amount of time saving to purchase a property. If you want to buy somewhere in the city of fog, it will take you nearly 25 years (24 years and 11 months) to afford the average downpayment for a place here. Despite earning 28% more than the average UK salary in this study, Londoners face property prices that are almost 3 times the average for UK cities (£749,500 vs £254,900).
The capital is not alone though, as it takes residents in Brighton almost 19 years (18 years and 11 months) to buy a property. This is caused by the city having the UK’s fourth-highest average property prices, but an average annual wage in the bottom third of the 35 cities studied (£25,792 gross per year).
Residents of Oxford don’t have it much better. It takes them just three months less to buy a house (18 years and 8 months). This is primarily because the city has the second-highest average property prices in the UK (£460,800).
How can you reduce your wait to buy a place?
When saving up for a down payment, you not only need the self-discipline to put your money aside and leave it alone but you also need a range of other factors, which can make a difference to how long you wait to get on the property ladder.
We spoke to our CEO, Jon Ostler, to get his advice on how you can reduce the time you need to save.
- Interest rate
- Lifetime ISA
- Stocks and shares ISA
“Something that makes a huge difference is ensuring you keep monitoring the market to get the best rate you can on your savings account. Even seemingly small increases in a savings rate can really reduce the time you spend saving due to the effects of compound interest. As an example, our study used a standard market rate of 1.18%, but if you saved your money in an account with no interest, it could take up to 4 years longer to save for a downpayment in some of the cities in our study.”
“If you’re looking to buy a house, a Lifetime ISA can be a really big help. You can put up to £4,000 in it per year and the government will give you an extra 25% (up to £1,000) on top. A risk-free interest rate of 25% cannot be matched anywhere else, although you can only use this on a property worth up to £250,000 (or £450,000 in London).”
“If you are saving over a long period of time, you could also consider a stocks and shares ISA. Although you should remember that your capital is at risk, as your investment can go down as well as up, so you may want to move your investments to a savings account sometime before you plan to buy. Investing in the FTSE 100 index between 2010 and 2019 resulted in annual returns of 7.4% – significantly higher than the savings rates of 1.5-2% that were available at the same time.”
“If you are lucky enough to have access to financial support from your family, it is much more effective to receive it when you are starting to save. As mentioned before, compound interest will mean that this amount rises significantly over a few years, so it will go a lot further than if you received it at the end of your savings period.”
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- Finder took the average income in each of the UK’s 35 largest cities as stated by Centre For Cities.
- Tax, National Insurance and automatic pension contributions were then subtracted to leave the net income available.
- 15% of the net income was taken to give the amount saved each month, and an annual AER of 1.18% was applied.
- The average property price for each city was taken from Zoopla’s 2019 data, and Finder then calculated how long it would take to reach 16% of the average property value in each city, using the saving method above.
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