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Zoopla crowns Luton the number one hotspot for first-time buyers

2nd December 2020


  • Luton, Bedfordshire, is the most popular town in the country for first-time buyers, with a typical deposit of £37,500 required to purchase a home

  • Wolverhampton comes in second place, with its West Midlands counterparts Sandwell, Coventry and South Staffordshire all featuring in the top 20

  • Barking and Dagenham is London’s first-time buyer hotspot, with locations in London occupying ten of the top 20 most popular areas


Zoopla, the UK’s most comprehensive property destination, has revealed the top 20 hotspots for first-time buyers in England, Scotland and Wales. To calculate the ranking, Zoopla analysed the proportion of first-time buyer demand across the three countries*. 


Luton takes the lead 


Luton, Bedfordshire tops the charts for first-time buyers, with a typical purchase price of  £250,000. First-time buyers looking to purchase in Luton require a deposit of £37,500 (15%) on average, and an average household income of £47,000. The most popular property type for first-time buyers in Luton is a three bed terraced house.


Regionally, the East of England is home to three further first-time buyer hotspots that feature in the top 20. Harlow ranks in fifth place, with an average first-time buyer house price of £275,000, requiring a deposit of £41,250. Thurrock, which is part of the London commuter belt, is in 11th place, while Basildon is in 13th place and currently has a three bed terraced house on sale for the typical first-time buyer house price for the area of £270,000.


West Midlands proving popular


The West Midlands is a region proving popular with first-time buyers, with four locations featuring in the top 20 list. Wolverhampton ranks in second place overall, with an average first-time buyer house price of £145,000. To purchase a house at this price, such as a two bed semi detached house currently for sale, first-time buyers would need a deposit of £21,750 and a salary of £27,000.


All within a 30 minute drive to Birmingham, Sandwell (eighth place), Coventry (15th place) and South Staffordshire (18th place) also feature in the top 20. Coventry has the highest entry level house price of the three at £170,000, followed by Sandwell (£160,000) and South Staffordshire (£150,000). Potential properties for first-time buyers for sale in these areas include a three bed semi detached house for sale in Coventry, which could make for the perfect family home.


Barking and Dagenham leads in London


While London’s house prices are often regarded as a barrier for first-time buyers trying to get onto the property ladder, locations in the capital occupy half of the top 20 list. Barking and Dagenham ranks as the third most popular place nationally for first-time buyers, with the lowest entry-level house price of £325,000. Potential buyers hoping to purchase their first home in this area are likely to need a deposit of £48,750 and a household income of £61,000, substantially higher than the requirements in other parts of the country. 


By contrast, Islington is the most expensive first time buyer hotspot in London, requiring a deposit of £78,750 and income of £99,000 to afford a typical house price of £525,000. Those with the means to purchase their first home in this borough may be tempted by a modern two bed flat for sale near Kings Cross, or a mews apartment for sale near the popular Upper Street in Islington. Both are on sale for £525,000. 


Gráinne Gilmore, Head of Research at Zoopla comments: “Activity levels in the housing market have been building across the country in recent months following sharp increases in buyer demand. First-time buyers remain one of the largest cohorts of purchasers across the country, and our data shows that they remain very active within the capital. There is noticeable activity across the wider commuter zones into the East of England too, perhaps reflecting different commuting patterns for office-based workers. The hotspots in the West Midlands reflect activity in this market more widely, but also underlines how the increased affordability of housing in these markets is appealing to those climbing onto the housing ladder.


“Activity levels will remain elevated into next year, and first-time buyers in many of these hotspots will still be able to secure a home with no stamp duty to pay or a reduced bill even after the end of the stamp duty holiday. The stamp duty exemption for first-time buyers on homes worth up to £300,000, which applies to homes worth up to £500,000, will remain in place after the stamp duty holiday ends on March 31st.” 


Top 20 first time buyer hotspots 



Local Authority

Typical first-time buyers' house price*

Deposit required (15%)

Household Income required**

Most popular property type for first-time buyers'


East of England


£ 250,000

£ 37,500

£ 47,000

3-bed terraced


West Midlands


£ 145,000

£ 21,750

£ 27,000

3-bed semi-detached



Barking and Dagenham

£ 325,000

£ 48,750

£ 61,000

3-bed terraced



Tower Hamlets

£ 445,000

£ 66,750

£ 84,000

2-bed flat


East of England


£ 275,000

£ 41,250

£ 52,000

3-bed terraced




£ 475,000

£ 71,250

£ 90,000

2-bed flat




£ 350,000

£ 52,500

£ 66,000

2-bed flat


West Midlands


£ 160,000

£ 24,000

£ 30,000

3-bed semi-detached




£ 525,000

£ 78,750

£ 99,000

2-bed flat




£ 350,000

£ 52,500

£ 66,000

2-bed flat


East of England


£ 285,000

£ 42,750

£ 54,000

3-bed terraced



Waltham Forest

£ 400,000

£ 60,000

£ 76,000

2-bed flat


East of England


£ 270,000

£ 40,500

£ 51,000

3-bed terraced




£ 450,000

£ 67,500

£ 85,000

2-bed flat


West Midlands


£ 170,000

£ 25,500

£ 32,000

3-bed terraced




£ 375,000

£ 56,250

£ 71,000

2-bed flat


West Midlands

South Staffordshire

£ 150,000

£ 22,500

£ 28,000

3-bed semi-detached




£ 400,000

£ 60,000

£ 76,000

2-bed flat


South East


£ 345,000

£ 51,750

£ 65,000

3-bed terraced


South East


£ 260,000

£ 39,000

£ 49,000

2-bed flat



The ranking is based on the proportion of applicant leads that can be attributed to first-time buyers (FTBs) and represents areas which have seen the greatest share of demand from FTBs between August and October. The income required refers to the avg price from the fourth column of the table above and the deposit is assumed at 15%. Income required is based on assumption of required LTI (loan-to-income) ratio of 4.5.


The typical first-time buyer's house price does not necessarily represent the price of the most popular property type.


*Research conducted between August and October 2020

** - values rounded to the nearest £1,000


Properties for sale in first-time buyer hotspots 

3 bed terraced house for sale

Basildon, Essex

Available on Zoopla for £270,000

2 bed semi-detached house for sale

Eastfield, Wolverhampton 

Available on Zoopla for £145,000

3 bed terraced house for sale

Beake Avenue, Coventry

Available on Zoopla for £170,000

2 bed flat for sale

Cromer Street, Islington

Available on Zoopla for £525,000

2 bed property for saleIsabella Mews, Islington 

Available on Zoopla for £525,000


- Ends -

For further information, please contact PR Team on [email protected] or +44 (0)20 3873 8770.

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