These UK city centres are the best value for first-time buyers

With the stamp duty holiday (and its extension), people have been thinking more than ever about getting on the property ladder over the past year.

And – due to the pandemic – it looks like built-up cities, like London, are becoming less desirable – as people turn to rural locations with more space and greenery.

This means property prices in city centres are falling, so are finally becoming a little more affordable for first-time buyers – and new data from Rightmove sheds light on this.

Figures show that prices in central Leeds and central Sheffield fell by 4% between January and April of this year.

In the city centre of Leeds, they’ve dropped by around £6,000 since the start of the year – now a two-bed flat with a balcony is achievable on a £160,000 budget.

While, over in Sheffield, a typical one or two-bed flat will now set you back around £125,00 – down more than £4,000 since the start of 2021.

In central Nottingham prices dropped by 3% in the same period, while Cardiff saw a 2% dip.

Elsewhere Southampton, Liverpool, Birmingham and Norwich also saw a 1% decrease.

It’s bad news for those looking to buy in London, Manchester, Hull and Newcastle as property prices haven’t changed. Those in the capital still remain very much unaffordable, at £477,001 for the average asking price. 

However, it’s even worse for those wanting to buy in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester, Oxford and York, as prices actually began to rise up during this period.

While it’s a mixed bag, it does mean properties in some city centres are becoming more affordable.

Tim Bannister, from Rightmove, commented: ‘These are early signs but they certainly point to some good news for city centres across Great Britain, with a number of agents now telling me they’ve seen a marked uptick in demand from first-time buyers, and they’re managing to sell city centre flats more quickly than in earlier months of the year.’

Best UK city centres for first-time buyers, according to Rightmove data:

Leeds  

Average asking price (April 2021): £159,972

Average asking price (January 2021): £166,76

Percentage change: -4%

Sheffield

Average asking price (April 2021): £124,097

Average asking price (January 2021): £128,606

Percentage change: -4%

Nottingham

Average asking price (April 2021): £178,390

Average asking price (January 2021): £183,542

Percentage change: -3%

Cardiff

Average asking price (April 2021): £209,130

Average asking price (January 2021): £212,521

Percentage change: -2%

Southampton

Average asking price (April 2021): £206,637

Average asking price (January 2021): £209,586

Percentage change: -1%

Liverpool

Average asking price (April 2021): £161,860

Average asking price (January 2021): £163,900

Percentage change: -1%

Birmingham

Average asking price (April 2021): £215,604

Average asking price (January 2021): £217,524

Percentage change: -1%

Norwich

Average asking price (April 2021): £226,354

Average asking price (January 2021): £228,258

Percentage change: -1%

Manchester

Average asking price (April 2021): £230,796

Average asking price (January 2021): £231,766

Percentage change: 0%

Newcastle

Average asking price (April 2021): £170,512

Average asking price (January 2021): £170,148

Percentage change: 0%

Hull

Average asking price (April 2021): £127,208

Average asking price (January 2021): £126,776

Percentage change: 0%

London (first time buyer prices)

Average asking price (April 2021): £477,001

Average asking price (January 2021): £474,950

Percentage change: 0%

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