Buying a home alone? 10 cheapest and most expensive locations revealed

Buying a home alone? 10 cheapest and most expensive locations revealed

By Debbie White

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Zoopla's crunched the numbers to determine which areas are too pricey and where it’s most affordable for singles to buy their first property in England and Wales.

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Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, has been identified as the cheapest location for singles to buy their first home, new data from Zoopla has shown.

Those stepping on to the property ladder in the large market town will pay, on average,  just 10.8% of their monthly wage towards their mortgage repayment on a one-bedroom flat – three times less than the average for England and Wales (35.1%).

Zoopla's figures show that the most affordable areas for single buyers tend to be in the north of England (see table, below).

By comparison, Cambridge was labelled the most expensive location outside of the capital for single homebuyers, as more than one third of their wage would need to be set aside to afford monthly mortgage repayments (36.1%).

Above: In Newcastle-under-Lyme, this new-build studio is available for £69,999

_Above: Among the range of affordable properties in Bradford is this three-bedroom terraced house, which will set you back just £82,500__**

Above:** In Cambridge, this one-bedroom flat, on the top floor of a Victorian conversion, is priced at £289,995_

Where are the most affordable places?

North Tynside, known for its award-winning beaches, was placed second to Newcastle-under-Lyme in Zoopla's most affordable table, as single buyers only need to set aside 10.9% of their monthly wage to service a mortgage.

Yorkshire’s Bradford (11.8%) and Kirklees (12.3%) were third and fourth respectively, while Lancashire’s coastal resort of Blackpool (12.5%) rounded off the five cheapest locations.

To rank locations, the cost of owning a one-bedroom flat in local authority areas across England and Wales was compared to residents’ average salaries within those places. Zoopla calculated monthly mortgage payments based on an interest rate of 2.4%, LTV 85% and repayment of 25 years.

RankLocal authorityAverage price for one bed flatMedian monthly wageMonthly mortgage repaymentProportion of mortgage repayment out of monthly wage (%)
2North Tyneside£68,713£2,372£25910.92%
6East Riding of Yorkshire£77,134£2,292£29112.69%

Source: Zoopla, January 2018

Which areas are the most expensive?

The south of England monopolises the rankings for the least affordable areas. Coming second after Cambridge in the table of 10 most expensive areas is Hertsmere – which encompasses Elstree, Radlett and Potters Bar – where single buyers would have to set aside 35.9% of their wage to afford monthly mortgage payments.

Further south, Brighton and Hove (35.6%), Bath and north east Somerset (35.1%) and Slough (33.7%) place third, fourth and fifth respectively.

RankLocal authorityAverage price for one bed flatMedian monthly wageMonthly mortgage repaymentProportion of mortgage repayment out of monthly wage (%)
3Brighton and Hove£236,964£2,513£89335.56%
4Bath and North East Somerset£221,053£2,372£83335.14%
6Epsom and Ewell£256,216£2,919£96633.10%
8Epping Forest£242,891£2,769£91633.07%
10Windsor and Maidenhead£264,268£3,044£99632.74%

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Zoopla concluded that north east England offers the best affordability for single buyers (14.6%) as it narrowly overtakes Yorkshire and the Humber (14.8%) and East Midlands (14.9%).

By comparison, single buyers keen to move into the capital would need to set aside more than half (57.4%) of their monthly wage – the highest of any region.

In fact, London is streets ahead of the next two most expensive regions, the East of England (25.7%) and south east England (25.4%).

What about London’s affordability for single buyers?

Taking a closer look at the capital, Bexley single buyers need to allocate just 29% of their monthly earnings in order to live the London lifestyle.

In north east London, Havering and Redbridge follow suit with 29.5% and 30.7% respectively.

But, for those singles hoping to step on to the property ladder in affluent Kensington and Chelsea, deep pockets are needed, as servicing a mortgage on a one-bedroom flat would require a hefty chunk of the average resident’s monthly earnings (82.4%).

It’s a similar story in Westminster, where solo buyers will fork out 82.1% towards their mortgage, while in Hammersmith and Fulham, lone purchasers would have to give up more than two-thirds (68.5%) of their wages to live in the expensive London borough.

Lawrence Hall, spokesperson for Zoopla, said the findings “highlight just how eye-wateringly expensive the London property market is for single buyers, especially in central London.”

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Top 3 takeaways

  • Newcastle-under-Lyme is the cheapest place in England and Wales for single homebuyers
  • Outside London, Cambridge is the least affordable location for solo purchasers
  • Within the capital, Bexley, a border borough, offers most affordability for those buying alone

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