Bath named among most expensive cities for first time buyers in Britain

Picture of the Pulteney Bridge over the River Avon, Bath
Bath's Pulteney Bridge.

Bath is one of the most expensive places to buy your first home, new figures show.

Data released by RightMove this month revealed the average asking price is now over £350,000, with mortgage repayments typically hitting £1,700 a month.

Only London and St Albans beat Bath to the top of the list and it was more expensive to buy a house there than in Oxford or Cambridge.

Olly Gerrish, Associate at Savills Bath, explained the soaring prices.

He said: "Since the pandemic, there has been a large shift of people moving out from London and expecting to get a lot more for their money.

"Bath has typically done well because you can live here and feel like you are in the countryside, but the demand has always massively outweighed the supply.

"We've heard that house prices are falling at their fastest rate in 14 years, but that is not necessarily true for Bath."

Olly Gerrish explained that, after dipping around Budget time last year, selling prices had recovered, but remained stable due to a relative lack of competition among buyers at the moment.

He said: "Whether that shifts anytime soon will depend on whether mortgage rates stay where they are or jump back up.

"But, in Bath, around one third of buyers don’t need a mortgage anyway. We get a lot of cash buyers, so the city has typically done well in tough markets.

"Before the pandemic, there were a lot of people who compromised and bought a townhouse because they were getting the train to Bristol every day or to London weekly.

"Recently, we’ve had a huge influx of London buyers who initially wanted the traditional regency townhouse.

"But the reality is that once they get here, they decide to move further out of town, because they give more outside space."

Of the homes in Oldfield Park in Bath, around 70% - 80% is student housing, or HMOs.

Keith Miles, business sales manager at Andrews Estate Agents, said he was still seeing first time buyers coming to Bath - despite soaring house prices.

He said: "More of them are coming forward with deposits gifted by mum and dad and I would say the average age of first time buyers has also gone up.

"They’ve got a tough time at the minute because interest rates have gone against them and in Bath they're often competing with investors for housing stock.

"The city has always been popular. It has amazing commuter links to London and Bristol, it’s got fantastic private and state schools and lots of community hubs, huge employers and a university town.

"In fact, a big chunk of housing is student accommodation.

"My advice to first time buyers would be to speak to a financial advisor, save really hard and maybe buy a property with a spare room that you can rent out to help with the mortgage."

The most expensive cities to buy your first home

Here are the top five most expensive cities for first-time buyers, out of the locations looked at by Rightmove.

Figures show the average asking price for a first-time buyer home, the potential monthly mortgage cost, the potential monthly rent and the potential monthly cost of a mortgage versus renting:

1. London: £508,879, £2,533, £2,054, £479

2. St Albans: £393,485, £1,958, £1,433, £525

3. Bath: £354,636, £1,765, £1,342, £423

4. Cambridge: £354,181, £1,763, £1,522, £241

5. Oxford: £351,943, £1,752, £1,422, £330

Within London, the average monthly mortgage payment for a first-time buyer was put at £2,533. Credit: PA

RightMove’s property expert Tim Bannister said: “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 economic headwinds that they face, and why we’re seeing buyers increasingly return to cities while a bigger proportion of renters are looking to move away.”

The cheapest cities to buy your first home

Bradford in Yorkshire has been named as Britain’s cheapest city to get on the property ladder, while London was named as the most expensive location.

Bradford Bradford in Yorkshire has been identified as Britain’s cheapest city to get on the property ladder Credit: PA

Property website RightMove looked at average asking prices for typical first-time buyer-type homes with a maximum of two bedrooms in 60 major urban locations across Britain to make the findings.

The research made several assumptions, including that first-time buyers had a 10% deposit and would be paying back their mortgage over 25 years.

The average asking price for a typical first-time-buyer-type property in Bradford is £104,643, which could potentially lead to monthly mortgage payments of around £521, RightMove said.

Carlisle in Cumbria was identified as the second cheapest city to be a first-time buyer, with an average monthly mortgage payment of £522.