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Where are the most and least affordable areas for first-time buyers?

The north of England is home to some of the most affordable locations for first-time buyers to purchase property.

With house prices at an all-time high, it’s making it even more challenging to get onto the property ladder. But government schemes like Help to Buy, the mortgage guarantee scheme and the new First Homes scheme are providing help.

The First Homes scheme has been designed to help local first-time buyers and key workers onto the property ladder in England. The aim is to help those who might otherwise have had to move elsewhere to afford buying their first home.

First Home properties will be sold at a discount of at least 30% off of the original market value. And prices are capped at a maximum of £250,000 and £420,000 in Greater London. The discount will also apply when the property is resold in the future.

Cassie Stephenson, director of mortgages at Mojo Mortgages, comments: “The savings available – particularly allowing first-time buyers access to higher LTV mortgages through reduced deposits – could also mean better access to lower interest rates and improved overall savings across the lifetime of a mortgage.

“We’re excited to see how this new scheme develops over the coming months as new properties and developments continue to crop up across England.”

Recently, Mojo Mortgages researched the range of factors impacting home affordability for first-time buyers, including mortgage repayments, house prices, average annual salary and monthly take home pay. Through this, the online mortgage broker found the most and least affordable areas for first-time buyers. The data is based on 10% deposits with a mortgage term of 30 years at 3% interest.

The most affordable locations

Towns and cities in the north of England dominate the list of the most affordable locations for first-time buyers. Bradford leads the way with an average property price of £145,981 and an average annual salary of £28,790. This equates to 14.30% when it comes to monthly mortgage payments as a percentage of average income.

Blackpool follows with 15.94%. Then, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Hull and Carlisle come in next, ranging from 17.35% to 17.82%. Durham is the eighth most affordable location with 18.10%.

There is even a major city on the list, Liverpool. This city is the ninth most affordable location with monthly mortgage payments taking up 18.56% of local’s average annual salary. While Liverpool has been leading UK house price growth, it is still home to lower prices with the average property price of £189,261.

Bolton of Greater Manchester rounds out the top 10 with 19.19%. The town was also highlighted earlier this year as an area where homebuyers and property investors can get more for their money.

The least affordable areas

According to Mojo Mortgages, Oxford, Bath and London are the least affordable areas for first-time buyers. Mortgage payments are taking up 49.37%, 47.65% and 47.12% of people’s average salaries respectively. These locations are also home to the most expensive average property prices on the list.

This data continues to illustrate the north-south divide when it comes to property affordability in the UK. While house prices are increasing in the north, it’ll likely remain a popular region for homebuying, especially for first-time buyers.

Nisha Vaidya, mortgage expert at, explains: “A good rule of thumb is to allocate no more than 35% of your gross income to your monthly mortgage repayments.

“Any more than this and you could become ‘house poor’, where you own a house, but lack the funds to do other important things such as saving money or going on holiday.”

The First Homes scheme will help eligible first-time buyers get their first foot onto the property ladder more affordably. Through this scheme, buyers will have access to reduced deposits, which could provide access to lower interest rates as well.

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