Bath, Wolverhampton and Chester are the best three cities in the country for first-time buyers, new findings suggest.
At the other end of the spectrum, London, Birmingham and Sheffield offer the worst deal for first-time buyers in terms of property prices, job prospects and disposable income.
In a marked turnaround in fortunes, the university city of Oxford has slipped from first to eighth place in the first-time buyer rankings amid a rise in contents thefts, while Sunderland has jumped up 10 places.
Where should you buy? Best and worst places to be a first-time buyer, according to MoneySuperMarket
To figure out where the best and worst cities to get on the housing ladder rank, MoneySuperMarket.com surveyed the average cost of a one-bedroom home, job opportunities, average salary, disposable income and rate of contents theft.
Scenic Bath has skipped up from second to first place in the rankings, enjoying the highest score for jobs per capita out of all the 35 cities analysed.
First-time buyers looking for a home in Bath can also expect to maintain decent levels of disposable income, MoneySuperMarket said.
Despite an increase in the average cost of a one-bedroom property over the course of the year, disposable income levels and average annual pay packets have risen in Wolverhampton, putting it in second place.
Top five: The best five cities in the UK to be a first-time buyer, according to findings
Chester’s rise in the rankings is thanks to a drop in the contents theft rate compared to last year, combined with a rise in affordable housing numbers.
The average cost of a one-bedroom property in Chester now sits at £106,050, which is well below MoneySupermarket’s quoted national average for first-time buyers in cities of £131,830.
London’s housing market is never far from the headlines and today is no different – but for all the wrong reasons.
Bottom of the pack: Worst cities to buy a home as a first-time buyer
The capital has been branded as the worst city for first-time buyers to snap up a home for the second consecutive year. With a lack of affordable homes available, sky-high asking prices and hefty living costs, it comes as no surprise that London comes in bottom of the pile.
House prices at the top end of London’s housing market has been struggling for some time, with pricey areas like Kensington and Chelsea suffering double-digit price drops.
But, at the other end of the spectrum, supplies of homes coming up for sale remain relatively scarce, while demand for them remains high.
In its last set of figures, the Office for National Statistics revealed that while house prices in London have fallen over the last year, the city remains the most expensive place in the country to buy property, with an average price tag of around £474,000.
While some people living in London may enjoy higher salaries than other cities in the UK, disposable income levels are stretched, MoneySuperMarket said.
Dropping six places, the average annual salary and disposable income level in Birmingham has dropped by 22 per cent, leaving this city as the second worst for first-time buyers across UK cities.
Rachel Wait, of MoneySuperMarket, said: ‘For many, buying your first property is one of life’s great milestones and can be incredibly exciting.
‘However, as is the case with any financial decision you make, it pays to think carefully about your budget and do your own research before committing to anything.
‘As well as looking at house prices in your area of choice, measures such as crime rates and local job opportunities can help inform your decision and ensure you’re in the location best suited to you.
‘It’s also important to start thinking about your credit score, as mortgage lenders will check your credit history to see whether you’re a reliable borrower and will use this and its affordability assessment to decide how much you can borrow.
Buoyant? According to figures published by UK Finance last month, the number of new homebuyers entering the market has recovered to pre-recession levels
‘Despite uncertain political times, it’s refreshing to see that the first-time buyer market has continued to grow in the UK, rising 1.9% from 2017 to 20181.
‘This is in part thanks to successful Government schemes such as Help to Buy. If buyers are willing to be flexible, they can stand a better chance of buying somewhere they can afford, without sacrificing a good standard of living. ‘Shopping around for the best mortgage is also crucial, to make sure you’re on a plan that works for you.’
According to figures published by UK Finance last month, the number of new homebuyers entering the market has recovered to pre-recession levels for the first time.
There were 370,000 new first-time buyer mortgages completed in 2018, some 1.9 per cent more than in 2017.
This is the highest number of first-time buyer mortgages since 2006, when the figure stood at 402,800.
Banks lent a total of £62billion in first-time buyer mortgages over the course of the year, marking a 4.9 per cent increase on the amount lent the year before.
The high volume of new buyers entering the market has been attributed to a combination of low rates on high loan-to-value mortgages, government schemes such as Help to Buy, family-link style mortgages which enable homeseekers to buy with no deposit, stamp duty exemption, and fewer landlords renting out properties.
Housebuilders have been reaping the benefits of the Government’s Help to Buy drive since 2013, with many enjoying bumper profits and dishing out bumper dividends to investors.
According to MoneySuperMarket, the average cost of a first-time buyer home stands at £217,199, with an average deposit of over £43,000 required.
Finance matters: How buyers finance their homes, according to research by MoneySuperMarket