Over half (56%) of properties across the UK are in areas that are affordable for first-time buyers, an analysis of ONS data by Post Office Money has found.
In the last year house price growth stagnated to an increase of just 0.9% across the UK, with the average home costing £282,713.
At the same time first-time buyer household incomes across the UK has risen by 1.2% to £48,289. This means that the average house price still sits at 5.85 times the average first-time buyer income.
Ross Hunter, Post Office Money, said: “It can take first-time buyers years of dedicated effort to save the necessary funds to purchase a home.
“Despite early indications of an emerging ‘buyer’s market’ we are not at a point where most new buyers will feel the impact.
“Starting the journey with a clear understanding of the areas that are affordable in their desired cities will really help them get to grips with the market and their options.
“The mortgage market has also been innovating to support those struggling to save a deposit, with mortgages like Post Office Family Link requiring no cash deposit for those who qualify.
“Post Office Money has launched a helpful tool to help buyers find affordable wards and boroughs within over 80 towns and cities across the UK. The tool also allows them to map out how long it will take to save for a deposit based on their income, what they can afford to save and local house prices.”
Affordability peaks in Blackpool where the average property price is £110,000, compared to the average first-time buyer household income in the North West of £40,053, meaning all the properties in the area are deemed affordable to new homeowners.
Other locations with similar levels of affordability include Lincoln and Hull.
In the last year, Rotherham has seen the biggest shift in affordability for first-time buyers.
While the number of affordable properties has shrunk by a fifth (18%), 79% of neighbourhoods in the city are still affordable for the average first-time buyer’s budget, which means it’s still a good option for local aspiring homeowners.
This has been driven by wage-growth in the area fuelling the number of potential first-time buyers and increasing demand.
Meanwhile, prospective house hunters in Ipswich have seen the most opportunity over the course of the last year, with the biggest increase in the number of properties in areas affordable to first-time buyers; a 6% increase to 88%.
For those buying property in the Nuneaton and Bedworth in the West Midlands, in the last year they will have seen the best return on their investment, with average property prices increasing by 11% to £179,995.
This increase has had an impact on the affordability for prospective buyers, who will have seen the average property price rise by £9,800 and £7,500, respectively, in just one year in the East and West Midlands.
On the whole, popular commuter hubs in the South continue to make up the majority of least affordable locations for first-time buyers in the UK, with Cambridge, Woking and Surrey all seeing a lack of opportunity for local first-time buyers.
Oxford ranks as the least affordable commuter location for new homeowners, with average property prices reaching £392,500 and with no properties currently in areas considered affordable to first-time buyers.