Bird & Co’s new first time buyer home deposit calculator shows the cities where singles and couples have the most hope of buying a home.
Our new mortgage deposit calculator was put to the test, uncovering what the picture looks like for first time home buyers in couples and buying alone.
Taking the average income, living costs, and salary for singles and couples, we inputted this data into the calculator for each city in England to discover how many months it would feasibly take to save up for a home deposit, from scratch, for an average property in that area.
The study revealed a list of areas where it would be easiest to get onto the property ladder, for both single people and couples.
The Easiest Cities for Single People to Buy a Home
We found that the easiest English cities for singles to buy an average home, alongside the number of months they could do this in, were:
- Kingston Upon Hull - 16 months
- Bradford, Derby, Doncaster, County Durham, Preston - 19 months
- Stoke-on-Trent - 20 months
- Liverpool - 26 months
- Newcastle Upon Tyne - 41 months
- Coventry - 57 months
- Newcastle Upon Tyne - 41 months
- Coventry - 57 months
- Nottingham - 62 months
- Lincoln - 65 months
At the bottom end of the list were areas including Bristol (over 50 years), Canterbury (34 years), Exeter (over 24 years), Milton Keynes (23 years) and Norwich (over 14 years). In these areas, singles would be looking at saving up for a home deposit in between 14 and 50 years.
Meanwhile, average expenditure in York, Brighton and Hove, Bath, Cambridge, London, and Oxford was greater than the average income, indicating that it would be practically impossible to save up for a house in these areas within a lifetime.
The Easiest Cities for Couples to Buy a Home
The picture certainly looked a little brighter for couples. In fact, the easiest English cities for couples to buy an average home, alongside the number of months they could do this in, were:
- Kingston Upon Hull – 8 months
- Bradford, Derby, Doncaster, County Durham, Preston, Stoke-on-Trent – 10 months
- Coventry – 12 months
- Liverpool – 13 months
- Newcastle Upon Tyne – 14 months
- Portsmouth – 15 months
- Nottingham, Southampton – 16 months
- Lincoln, Leicester – 17 months
- Leeds, Colchester – 18 months
- Sheffield – 19 months
This top 10 list provides a really positive picture for prospective home buyers looking to save up to buy their first home. It even demonstrates the 8 cities where it would be feasibly possible for a couple to save up for a home deposit in under 1 year (depicted in 1 to 3 of the above list).
In contrast, at the lower end of the list for couples to buy a home quickly were cities including Exeter and Manchester (just over 2 years), Milton Keynes (2 and a half years), Canterbury (almost 6 years), York (over 7 years) and Brighton and Hove (over 63 years). However, apart from Brighton and Hove, these time frames are still relatively manageable in comparison to single people, taking under 8 years to save up for a deposit.
Meanwhile, average expenditure in Bath, Cambridge, London, and Oxford was greater than the average income, indicating that it would be practically impossible to save up for a house in a lifetime in these areas from scratch as a couple.
The Cities with the Largest Disparity Between Couples and Singles Getting on the Property Ladder
In our workings, we considered the different deposit percentages that a single person vs. a couple would require.
Most mortgage offers will be worked out at 4 to 4.5 times a person’s (or household’s) salary. Naturally, a couple in a household will almost always have a higher income when combined, and therefore will likely be able to borrow more from a lender. This means that their deposit percentage will be a lot lower than someone not in a relationship, or buying with someone else.
Our study showed that the highest deposit percentage that would be required from a couple was 25% in Brighton and Hove. In comparison, the highest deposit percentage required for a single person was 62% in the same city.
Based on these statistics, there were certain areas that showed a large disparity between the amount of time needed for singles to save in comparison to couples. In fact, the areas with the largest disparity between singles and couples, as well as the difference in months required to save for a house, were:
- Bristol - 542 months
- Canterbury - 339 months
- Exeter - 264 months
- Milton Keynes - 245 months
- Norwich - 152 months
- Cheshire West and Chester - 146 months
- Colchester - 139 months
- Plymouth - 128 months
- Leicester - 96 months
- Worcester - 95 months
This reflects almost a 45-year difference in Bristol, over a 28-year difference in Canterbury, and a 22-year difference in Exeter. In comparison, it would only take singles in Kingston-Upon-Hull 8 months extra to save, 9 months extra for singles in Bradford, Derby, Doncaster, County Durham, and Preston to save, and 10 months extra in Stoke-on-Trent.
Could the 0% Deposit Paint a Brighter Future?
The 0% deposit is a new initiative by Skipton Building Society which allows first time buyers who are currently renting to obtain a mortgage with under a 5% deposit.
Considering the perhaps meek picture for some single people painted above, the 0% deposit scheme acts as a beacon of hope for singles looking to get themselves on the property ladder in the near future.
The problem is that this is a very new scheme, and we do not yet know how accessible it is, or how long it will be around for. What’s more, it is also only available from one supplier so far, so whether it is a feasible option is an unknown as of yet.
As such, the calculations in this study assume that a person would be looking to obtain a standard mortgage, and therefore excludes anyone who manages to get on the property ladder with a 0% deposit.
The Future of Buying a Home in England
Bird & Co’s study highlights the difficulties that those who wish to buy a home on their own face in today’s climate. Ultimately, there are some locations where it is possible to buy alone, but in other locations it is practically impossible.
In comparison, we can see a rather positive picture for those looking to buy their first home with a long-term partner or friend. In fact, the data shows that it would be possible to get on the property ladder, with some serious budgeting, in under 3 years in almost every location.
If you’re looking to buy your first home in the coming years, feel free to make use of our new first time buyer calculator to give you an idea of how much you’ll need to save, and how long this will take.
Methodology and Data Sources
- The house prices in the mortgage deposit calculator were sourced via the most recent House Price Index on GOV.uk.
- For a list of all the cities in England, we used the List of UK Cities on GOV.uk.
- For the average cost of living for singles and couples, we used the Cost of Living calculator by Numbeo.
- The rent prices for each location were found via the Market Rent Summary for each city at Home.co.uk.
- The average salary in each location was found via the Average Salary Comparison for each city at Plumplot.
- We inputted the average salaries for each city into www.thesalarycalculator.co.uk. For each city, we assumed a person would be on Student Loan repayment plan 2, and had a standard 5% pension contribution.
Using our mortgage deposit calculator, we inputted each city one by one (selecting “All” home type each time), and added in the averages above for each city.
Based on the average salary in each area, and a mortgage rate of 4.5x salary, we worked out the deposit percentage the user would require in each separate instance, and inputted this into the calculator. For anyone where their salary meant they wouldn’t require a maximum mortgage, we assumed they would opt for a 10% deposit in our workings. However, they could equally opt for a higher/lower deposit if they wished to do so.
We then assumed that the user had no current savings for a house deposit.
Based on these workings, we could ascertain a number of months that the average person in each city would require to save up for a home deposit.
We did this for both single households and couple households.
- All the figures inputted were an average i.e. average income, average expenditure, and average salary.
- We have assumed that single people live in a 1-bed property, so any shared accommodation, where things may be cheaper, are not included in our workings.
- The averages for all locations include people of all ages and backgrounds, and therefore figures may not be accurate for all age groups. As such, the average expenditure does not account for people who may be on a budget, or for people in different age groups, so may vary.
- Average cost of living is for a single person, and doubled for a couple. Couples may spend less money as a pair, however we have not considered this in our workings.
- When using the calculator, we selected “All” home type, which includes flats as well as larger houses. If a person were to buy a smaller house or a flat, they may be more likely to get on the property ladder sooner.
- The data only includes the cities where there was sufficient information on average incomes and expenditures. Those without sufficient information have been excluded from the data.
- The study assumes that people living in each city would be looking to buy a house in that city.
- The workings for deposit percentage assume that lenders would offer 4.5x a salary. However, in reality, lenders requirements vary widely. There is no hard and fast rule about how much of a multiplier a lender will apply or what percentage of equity a lender is looking for the borrower to have in the property.
- Values for average cost of living, rent, home price, and salary have been taken from the above sources at different times throughout 2023, so figures may vary but should be fairly accurate. While there may be slight variations in the time frames between sources, the publication dates for each independent data source can be found via the links above.
- Although this data was sourced via reputable sources, its interpretations are of the Bird & Co researchers.