The best and worst places to buy if you're a first-time buyer

Manisha Mehta

4-minute read

Last updated:

February 27, 2020

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Getting on the property ladder as a first-time buyer is notoriously difficult, unless you happen to have a few grand stashed away in your savings account or can ask the Bank of Mum and Dad to help with the deposit.

Recent research revealed that just one in four young people under the age of 34 will be in a position to buy a home by 2026 – which isn’t comforting news!

Mortgage tips for first-time buyers

So where is affordable in the UK if you want to get on the property ladder in 2020? We did our own research to look at the best and worst places to buy your first home in the UK based on the average income vs the average monthly mortgage payment in some of the most populated areas in the UK. We also worked out where the worst places were, and as well as the obvious (i.e. London!), there were a few surprises that popped up on our list.

Finding the best place to buy as a first-time buyer

To figure all of this out, we cross-referenced several important factors (the full table of first-time buyer data is at the bottom). These included: how much the monthly mortgage would cost in comparison to the average income in the area, how much monthly bills would come to, travel expenses for commuting and the price per square metre of a home in the area.

The best places to be a first time buyer

While it may be colder, moving up north could be a wise move for those in search of lower property prices and lower bills. Newcastle made the top spot on Mojo’s list, with the price per square metre (£1,650) cheaper than any other city, and the average mortgage payment being just 29.05% of a buyer’s income. Aberdeen ranked second, where the average mortgage payment is 29.57% of a buyer’s income, followed by Belfast, Stoke-on-Trent and Hull.

...And places for FTBs to avoid

The worst places to buy as a first time buyer

There were no surprises with London named as the worst place to purchase is you’re a first time buyer. If you buy a city centre apartment here, you’ll need to earn 45% more than average monthly net salary to be able to afford your mortgage payments. The price per square metre also stands at a staggering £13,068.95.

What was surprising though was that Derby, Northampton and Liverpool were named as some of the most expensive places to buy for first time buyers. When looking at the numbers, the cost of a property based on the price per square metre was high in those areas, while the average salary was relatively low.

Let’s face it, getting a mortgage can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! And at Mojo, we can help you achieve your dream of home ownership. So, if you’re looking for a first time buyer mortgage, register with Mojo for a completely hassle-free mortgage journey.

Complete first-time buyer city data

City Cost of a travel pass Bills Price per sq.m to buy in the city centre Average monthly net salary Mortgage interest rate, yearly (based on 20 years) Mortgage as a % income







Newcastle upon Tyne £57.20 £145.82 £1,650.00 £1,631.57 3.00% 29.05%
Aberdeen £65.22 £130.82 £2,250.00 £2,275.00 3.77% 29.57%
Belfast £55.50 £76.38 £1,900.00 £1,636.86 3.30% 31.67%
Stoke-on-Trent £65.00 £172.78 £1,850.00 £1,536.11 2.49% 34.64%
Kingston upon Hull £45.81 £122.20 £1,666.67 £1,415.28 3.34% 35.34%
Coventry £50.00 £142.31 £2,466.67 £2,096.00 3.38% 38.06%
Southampton £52.68 £141.63 £2,333.33 £2,006.67 3.23% 39.41%
Bournemouth £52.00 £143.55 £2,700.00 £1,932.67 3.15% 42.76%
Cardiff £53.18 £166.05 £2,750.00 £1,866.67 3.13% 43.80%
Leeds £60.00 £123.19 £2,666.67 £1,937.02 3.51% 44.21%
Reading £59.20 £167.87 £4,293.99 £2,501.35 2.34% 47.86%
Plymouth £55.00 £163.68 £2,800.00 £1,603.50 4.00% 49.60%
Portsmouth £59.13 £106.75 £3,203.71 £1,747.92 2.92% 51.20%
Birmingham £64.12 £140.56 £3,619.79 £1,700.36 3.07% 52.08%
Glasgow £54.18 £99.80 £3,833.33 £1,808.99 3.36% 52.59%
Nottingham £55.19 £149.93 £2,500.00 £1,528.30 3.83% 52.72%
Leicester £56.19 £202.08 £3,000.00 £1,648.55 3.42% 56.58%
Edinburgh £55.19 £136.20 £4,051.09 £1,879.17 2.81% 57.96%
Bristol £66.40 £184.04 £4,122.29 £2,023.14 3.32% 60.35%
Manchester £64.22 £143.88 £3,575.40 £1,769.82 3.48% 60.82%
Luton £60.00 £196.17 £4,080.67 £1,700.00 2.23% 68.21%
Liverpool £65.22 £143.27 £4,941.09 £1,662.03 3.26% 75.27%
Brighton £77.26 £164.09 £5,902.46 £1,769.57 3.09% 100.03%
Northampton £52.17 £172.95 £4,750.00 £1,362.50 3.33% 116.38%
Derby £50.00 £165.34 £6,654.64 £1,955.00 3.64% 119.92%
London £143.48 £160.30 £13,068.95 £2,363.83 3.31% 145.07%

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