List reveals most affordable places in UK for first-time buyers

By Isabelle Grange

August 11, 2016



With house prices rising to record levels in many parts of the UK, more first-time buyers than ever have had to look further afield in order to purchase their first new house. It’s why a survey that was carried out to find the most affordable local authority district (LAD) to buy a home in the UK will be of particular interest to those many potential new homebuyers wanting to take that first step on to the property ladder.

The survey, carried out by Halifax, the largest provider of mortgages in the country, found that East Dunbartonshire, Copeland in West Cumbria and East Renfrewshire, were first, second and third respectively when it came to affordability. That affordability was based on the ratio between average earnings in the local area against local house prices.

With property prices only 2.6 times more than the average salary, East Dunbartonshire, just to the north of Glasgow, was the most affordable of all the areas surveyed. This is an area which includes Bearsden, Kirkintilloch and Lenzie. Copeland in West of Cumbria came second with a ratio of 2.9. Another LAD just outside Glasgow, East Renfrewshire, came third in terms of being affordable with a house price v. earnings ratio of 3.0.

Generally, the cheapest places to buy property in relation to local earnings were in the West of Scotland and Northern England. There were no surprises in regards to the most expensive LAD’s, with the top ten being filled exclusively by London districts.

The ten most affordable places were as follows:


District Region Ratio
East Dunbartonshire West of Scotland 2.6
Copeland (West Cumbria) North West England 2.9
East Renfrewshire West of Scotland 3.0
West Dunbartonshire West of Scotland 3.1
Stirling Central Scotland 3.1
Pendle North West England 3.2
Blaenau Gwent South Wales 3.3
North Lanarkshire Central Scotland 3.3
Northumberland North East England 3.3
Mid and East Antrim Northern Ireland 3.4


Compared to East Dunbartonshire’s lowest ratio of 2.6, Brent in north London had the highest ratio of 12.5. It illustrates just why the issue of affordable housing is particularly severe in the capital as opposed to elsewhere in the UK. First-time buyers in London paid, on average, £384,000 for a home whereas in Northern Ireland the average price was just £110,000.

Other data released by Halifax showed that in the first six months of 2016, there was a 10% increase in the number of first time buyers purchasing properties in the UK compared with the same period a year earlier. The 154,200 homes bought is double the figure for the first half of 2009. However, when compared over a longer-term, this year’s figures are still only a third of what they were around twenty years ago. In addition, house prices on average across the UK have more than tripled in that time.

The government’s Help to Buy scheme has still made many areas in the UK more affordable for home buyers whereas without it, buying a new house would have been impossible. In addition, new homes are still seen as offering some of the best value prices within the property market.

Mortgage director at Halifax, Chris Gowland says: “Although, many potential first-time buyers have to deal with ever rising house prices and larger deposits required, low mortgage rates still makes buying a new home more attractive than renting.”

With the Bank of England announcing a cut in their base rate to 0.25%, it’s thought that this too could have a beneficial influence on house buying as mortgage rates, already at record low levels, fall even further.

To find out more about affordable new houses in your area you can use our comprehensive search page or else specifically search for Help to Buy properties here.

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