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Get Onto The Property Ladder In 2022!

 


In June 2021, it was revealed that renting in the UK had become cheaper than buying, suggesting that ‘Generation Rent’ was set to remain this way for the foreseeable.

The property market has been climbing since the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions in 2020, with house prices climbing 10% on average between 2020 and 2021. With house prices climbing faster than ever, it’s getting even more challenging for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder.

To understand the extent of the challenges to first-time buyers, we’ve analysed data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) including earnings, savings and house prices to find out where getting on the property ladder is the hardest in the country.

Key findings


It would take, on average, 12.7 years for a solo buyer to save for a home in the UK.
Women need to save for almost 4 more years than men to buy a house on their own.
Excluding the deposit, buying a house costs around £7,400 in fees for new buyers.

The hardest areas to buy a house

Region Local authority Estimated monthly savings House Prices (March 2021) Total moving home fees 10% deposit Total cost of buying a house Years to save
South East Epsom and Ewell £216 £512,323 £18,141 £51,232 £69,373 26.8
East Hertsmere £214 £503,429 £17,696 £50,343 £68,039 26.5
South East Oxford £196 £452,297 £14,846 £45,230 £60,076 25.6
East Three Rivers £252 £543,732 £19,712 £54,373 £74,085 24.5
South East Chichester £195 £414,699 £12,966 £41,470 £54,436 23.2
South West Cotswold £204 £428,389 £13,650 £42,839 £56,489 23.1
South East Woking £219 £454,400 £14,951 £45,440 £60,391 23.0
East Epping Forest £236 £477,548 £16,108 £47,755 £63,863 22.6
South East Brighton and Hove £199 £405,451 £12,504 £40,545 £53,049 22.2
East Dacorum £225 £428,422 £13,652 £42,842 £56,494 20.9

Outside of London, the hardest places to buy are most commonly in the South East, with 6 out of 10 of the top places situated in this area. However, the hardest place to save for a house is Epsom and Ewell, Surrey, where the average salary and savings would see you saving for over 25 years before you could buy a house alone.

The house prices in these areas are all way above the average of £255,556, which has a direct impact on the cost of fees and how much is needed for a 10% deposit.

The Homebuyers Gender Gap


With the average salaries for men and women in each area differing based on the gender pay gap of the area, the data highlights how significantly disadvantaged women typically are in the property market.

Areas with the worst gender homebuying gap

Region Local authority (Men) Estimated monthly savings (Women) Estimated monthly savings Total cost of buying a house (Men) Years to save (Women) Years to save Difference
South East Mole Valley £397 £197 £68,033 14.3 28.8 14.5
South East Sevenoaks £397 £191 £61,767 13.0 26.9 14.0
East Midlands Rutland £269 £138 £46,397 14.4 28.0 13.7
East Cambridge £305 £169 £61,521 16.8 30.3 13.5
South East Guildford £326 £185 £61,457 15.7 27.7 11.9
East Dacorum £275 £164 £56,494 17.1 28.8 11.6
South East Wokingham £359 £195 £59,054 13.7 25.3 11.6
East St Albans £461 £247 £72,935 13.2 24.6 11.4
East Epping Forest £277 £174 £63,863 19.2 30.6 11.4
South East Waverley £347 £203 £62,184 14.9 25.6 10.7

In the most distinctly unequal parts of the UK, women would need to save for more than double the time men would to buy a house alone.

Again, the East and the South East are commonly represented here, highlighting how the cost of housing impacts equal access to home ownership.

Areas with the best gender homebuying gap


Region Local authority (Men) Estimated monthly savings (Women) Estimated monthly savings Total cost of buying a house (Men) Years to save (Women) Years to save Difference
South East Rushmoor £206 £276 £35,417 14.3 10.7 -3.7
South East Dover £213 £226 £33,387 13.0 12.3 -0.7
North West Carlisle £179 £196 £16,753 7.8 7.1 -0.7
North East Newcastle upon Tyne £212 £214 £20,229 7.9 7.9 -0.1
North East Middlesbrough £182 £183 £13,978 6.4 6.4 0.0
East Broxbourne £216 £213 £46,323 17.9 18.1 0.2
North West Pendle £167 £160 £13,706 6.8 7.2 0.3
North West Blackpool £163 £154 £13,134 6.7 7.1 0.4
North West Copeland £280 £258 £15,648 4.7 5.1 0.4
East Mid Suffolk £203 £196 £37,352 15.3 15.9 0.6

There are only four local authorities in the country where women would have to save for less time than men to own their own home and one where the saving time is equal.

Not only are houses in the North West and North East cheaper, but there are also plenty of places in this area with more equitable access to housing.

However, the fact that the top two places are also from the South East suggests it’s not just a regional issue.

The property ladder in Merseyside & Cheshire


Local authority Estimated monthly savings House Prices (March 2021) Total moving home fees 10% deposit Total cost of buying a house Years to save
St Helens £210 £148,513 £2,299 £14,851 £17,151 6.8
Knowsley £198 £148,758 £2,304 £14,876 £17,180 7.2
Halton £207 £160,524 £2,563 £16,052 £18,616 7.5
Liverpool £197 £156,855 £2,490 £15,686 £18,176 7.7
Wirral £209 £180,350 £2,960 £18,035 £20,995 8.4
Sefton £200 £181,492 £2,983 £18,149 £21,132 8.8
Cheshire West and Chester £224 £219,869 £3,884 £21,987 £25,871 9.6
Warrington £216 £216,810 £3,823 £21,681 £25,504 9.9
Cheshire East £238 £262,936 £5,164 £26,294 £31,457 11.0

Savings in the UK


All areas of Merseyside and Cheshire are lower than average when it comes to years to save, with the national average currently sitting at 15 years for a solo buyer. However, it’s still going to be tough for any prospective first-time homeowners saving at the average rate.

Unsurprisingly, savings spiked in 2020 during the national lockdown as all but essential shopping was largely restricted. The ONS savings ratio noted that savings hit a high of 23.7% of income in the second quarter of 2020. 

Savings are still higher than previous years, currently at a level last seen in 2016. However, December 2021 saw inflation reach its highest level in decades, meaning the cost of living is consistently climbing higher.

This will no doubt impact the accessibility of the housing market even further for prospective buyers.

Methodology


The estimated total fees for buying a house were calculated by identifying the estimated Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT), valuation fees, solicitors fees and the cost of a homebuyer’s survey. 

The estimated monthly savings were calculated by subtracting the average rent of a one-bedroom property from the average salary in each area. The ONS national savings ratio was then used to identify estimated monthly savings.

Full dataset available here 

All data was taken from the ONS.

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