First-time buyers ‘need £54,400 average income to purchase in major cities’

First-time buyers hoping to get on the property ladder in the UK’s major cities need an average household income of £54,400, a report suggests.

Zoopla, which analysed house prices in the UK’s 20 biggest cities, said the average annual income needed ranges from £26,100 in Liverpool to £84,000 in London.

Across the cities looked at, the average income needed has increased by more than £4,500 over the past three years, Zoopla said.

But there was slight relief for those trying to buy in London – the average household income needed is £3,250 less than in 2016, following three years of weak growth and small price falls in the capital.

London skyline
The City of London skyline. In London, the average household income needed for first-time buyers is £3,250 less than in 2016, according to Zoopla (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The research made several assumptions, including that 30% of a household’s take-home income is spent on mortgage costs, and that buyers borrow no more than four times their income.

The analysis expected that buyers would have a 15% deposit to put down, increasing to 25% in the more expensive cities of London, Oxford and Cambridge.

Average mortgage rates were used to calculate repayments over a 30-year term.

Outside London, Cambridge and Oxford require the highest first-time buyer incomes, although like London these have also fallen over the past three years.

Aberdeen has also seen a big decrease in the average income needed to get on the property ladder, Zoopla said.

Leicester has seen the largest percentage increase in the income required to purchase since 2016, at 20%, followed closely by Birmingham and Manchester, reflecting house price growth in these cities.

Richard Donnell, research and insight director at Zoopla said: “First-time buyers are an important group accounting for more than one in three sales.

“While the average household income to buy a typical home across UK cities has grown 9% since 2016, weaker price growth and recent price falls have led to a 5% reduction in the income to buy across the most expensive cities.

“It will come as a modest relief for would-be buyers although the income to purchase still remains relatively high.”

Here are the average incomes needed to buy a home in 2016 followed by the figure for 2019 and the percentage change, according to Zoopla:
– Liverpool, £23,000, £26,100, 14%
– Glasgow, £23,300, £26,600, 14%
– Newcastle, £25,500, £27,200, 7%
– Belfast, £25,500, £28,800, 13%
– Sheffield, £25,800, £29,500, 14%
– Nottingham, £27,800, £32,900, 18%
– Aberdeen, £38,300, £33,700, minus 12%
– Birmingham, £29,600, £35,200, 19%
– Leeds, £31,300, £35,500, 13%
– Manchester, £30,400, £36,200, 19%
– Leicester, £31,700, £38,000, 20%
– Cardiff, £39,000, £44,600, 14%
– Southampton, £44,100, £48,500, 10%
– Edinburgh, £41,800, £48,700, 17%
– Portsmouth, £45,300, £50,700, 12%
– Bristol, £53,100, £59,500, 12%
– Bournemouth, £55,000, £62,300, 13%
– Oxford, £70,800, £68,800, minus 3%
– Cambridge, £76,000, £72,000, minus 5%
– London, £87,300, £84,000, minus 4%

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