The 5 cheapest cities for first-time buyers


During the pandemic, we saw lots of home-movers looking to coastal towns and countryside villages, in search of more green spaces and a slower-paced lifestyle. But recently, we’ve seen a big shift in home-movers looking to return to cities.

If you’re looking to buy your first home, you might be wondering which cities in Great Britain have the cheapest average property prices right now (along with lure of their vibrant social scenes, transport links, and metropolitan buzz).

The average asking price for a first-time buyer property – that’s a home with two bedrooms or fewer – is currently £226,399.

We’ve analysed the average asking price of these types of homes in 60 cities in Great Britain. And the top five cheapest cities for first-time buyers all have an average house price that’s less than half the national average.

So which cities have topped our list, and what sort of homes can you find for sale there right now? Take a look…

Cities Average asking price for a first-time buyer type property (2 bedrooms and fewer) Average monthly mortgage payment* (per month) Average monthly rental payment (per month) Mortgage versus Rent
Bradford £104,643 £521 £623 -£102
Carlisle £104,784 £522 £556 -£34
Aberdeen £106,088 £528 £718 -£190
Hull £106,939 £532 £595 -£63
Dundee £111,415 £555 £731 -£176

*Mortgage payment example based on a 5-year fixed, 90% loan-to-value (LTV) mortgage at the current best-buy rate of 4.45%, 25-year term mortgage

Source: Rightmove House Price Index and Podium data

Cheapest city for first-time buyers: Bradford

Named the upcoming City of Culture for 2025, Bradford in West Yorkshire is the cheapest city for first-time buyer homes. The average asking price for this type of property is £104,643. That means an average monthly mortgage payment for buyers with a 10% deposit works out at £521 per month, which is just over £100 cheaper than the average rental payment.

This is based on the current best-buy mortgage rate (4.45%) for a 5-year, fixed-rate mortgage at 90% loan-to-value (over a 25-year term).

Take a look at some of the first-time buyer homes currently for sale in Bradford

Second cheapest city for first-time buyers: Carlisle

The cathedral city of Carlisle sits close to the border of Scotland. The average asking price of a first-time buyer house price of £104,784, and average first-time buyer monthly mortgage payments of £522.

Take a look at some of the first-time buyer homes for sale in Carlisle

Third cheapest city for first-time buyers: Aberdeen

Scotland’s third most populated city after Glasgow and Edinburgh, Aberdeen is a coastal city known for its stone-grey architecture, and is close to the Cairngorms National Park. The average asking price of a first-time buyer home here is £106,088.

Take a look at some of the first-time buyer homes for sale in Aberdeen

Increased demand for first-time buyer homes

In recent months, we’ve seen stronger demand for first-time buyer homes when compared to other types of properties. This is up 6% on the levels we saw during the same period in 2019, before the pandemic began. And this is despite the fact that the property market is more settled now than it was during the extremely busy pandemic years.

This increased demand for first-time buyer homes may be because of how competitive the rental market is at the moment. There are lots more tenants looking to move than there are homes available, pushing up rents to record highs. This has led to it becoming cheaper to cover monthly mortgage payments when buying a home in some cities, rather than the average local rental payments.

Our property expert, Tim Bannister, says: “For those who are able to save up the deposit, it’s still cheaper to pay off a mortgage as a first-time buyer in many areas than pay the equivalent in monthly rent, despite prices reaching a new record at a national level and mortgage rates rising.”

It highlights how frenetic the rental market has been for a long time now, with many areas continuing to see record rents and fierce competition between tenants for the properties available. It helps to explain why we’re seeing such determination from first-time buyers to continue to get onto the ladder, despite the wider economic pressures that they face. And it also explains why we’re seeing buyers increasingly return to cities while a bigger proportion of renters are looking to move away,” he adds.

What’s happening with mortgage rates?

If you’re buying a home with a mortgage, you might be wondering what the current average mortgage rates are, and what that could mean for your monthly payments. You can check the average UK mortgage rates here, which we update weekly.

You can also check how much you could borrow with a mortgage using our mortgage calculator. Or, you can apply for a Mortgage in Principle online: it’s quick, free, and your application won’t impact your credit score.

READ MORE: What can you buy for the average first-time buyer asking price?