Here are the UK’s Most Affordable Cities for First Time Buyers, Study Reveals

If quality of life and safety are important for first-time buyers to consider, affordability remains a top priority when getting on the property ladder. In light of the continuing cost of living crisis, which UK cities are the most affordable for first-time homeowners?

To help out, mortgage experts at The Co-operative Bank have analysed 30 UK cities based on metrics including average house prices, average conveyancing costs and average surveying costs to reveal the most affordable UK cities to invest in your first property.

Swansea is the best UK city for first-time buyers, offering affordable house prices, low crime rates and high life satisfaction

Swansea in Wales ranks as the best city in the UK for first-time buyers, thanks to its affordability, safety and excellent life satisfaction score (which is based on how satisfied current residents report being).

The average cost for first-time buyers in Swansea is £195,687 when taking into account additional fees like conveyancing (£1,483 on average in Swansea) and surveying (£420). This is among the most affordable in the country. 

The Welsh city also receives a low crime score, making it a safe place to settle down, as well as a high life satisfaction score of 7.5 out of 10. 

Edinburgh comes in second place, with a higher average total cost of £346,293 (including an average stamp duty price of £6,503). However, Edinburgh also has the lowest crime index score in the country, as well as the highest life satisfaction score (7.7 out of 10). 

RankCityAverage total cost of buying a houseCrime safety index score (lower = better)Traffic index score (lower = better)Life satisfaction score (out of 10)
10Kingston upon Hull£140,81453.2113.67.4

Blackpool is the most affordable UK city for first-time buyers, with an average house price of just £134,092

The research crowns Blackpool as the most affordable UK city to buy a first home, with a total average price of £135,995 (including additional costs like conveyancing). That’s over £400,000 cheaper than the most expensive city, London, where the total cost averages £547,560. 

Kingston upon Hull is the second-most affordable spot, offering a total cost of £140,814 with surveying and conveyancing fees. Stoke-on-Trent comes in third, with an average total of £143,642, followed by Sunderland (£147,319) and Belfast (£167,852).

RankCityAverage house priceAverage conveyancing costsAverage surveying costsAverage stamp duty costsTotal cost
2Kingston upon Hull£138,031£1,483£420£0£140,814

London, Bristol, and Edinburgh are the most expensive cities to get on the property ladder, with costs averaging £300-£500k

London is unsurprisingly the most expensive city for first-time buyers in the UK, with the total average spend adding up to a huge £547,560. 

Bristol is the second-most expensive city (£353,033), followed by Edinburgh (£346,293), Reading (£332,283) and Southend-on-Sea (£327,729). 

RankCityAverage house priceAverage conveyancing costsAverage surveying costsAverage stamp duty costsTotal cost

A spokesperson for The Co-operative Bank shares tips for first-time buyers:

“If you’re planning to buy your first home, the very first step is to save up money for a deposit. Typically, you’ll need to save a minimum of 10% of the cost of the property you want to buy. There are government schemes available to help you do this, like the Lifetime ISA (LISA) which lets you earn up to £1,000 extra a year through a 25% government bonus. 

“You’ll also need to figure out how much you can afford to spend and create a budget. You can use tools like our mortgage calculator to see what property price you can afford or what your monthly mortgage repayment could be. Don’t forget to factor in extra costs too, like conveyancing and surveying fees. 

“Finally, first-time buyers especially could benefit from using a broker. They can help you find the best mortgage to suit your needs, and explain how the market works.”

Eve Crabtree

Eve Crabtree is a journalist with a passion for interior design. She keeps up to date with the latest trends in the interior industry and regularly tests her hand at crafting and redecorating during her spare time.