Daily Mail

This thriving metropolis of a West Midlands city has undergone major regeneration in the past few years. But has it priced out those hoping to step on to the property ladder?

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  • Location is important when taking our first step on to the property ladder and often involves some compromise. If our first choice destination is financially out of reach, where should we look that’s both desirable and affordable?

    This is where Zoopla can help. Our data looks at average house prices to show how much a first-time buyer needs to earn and save for a deposit to buy a home in the UK.

    This means that if you want to buy in Birmingham, our map, below, shows you the postcode areas that are most affordable.

    Most affordable areas for first-time buyers in Birmingham

    Affordability heat map of Birmingham

    (Click on map for larger version)

    Quick stats about Birmingham:

    • Average first-time buyer property (two-to-three bedroom house) in Birmingham costs £179,216 with the average deposit required being £26,882.

    • Average income required from a first-time buyer household in Birmingham is £38,097.

    • Most affordable area is Rough Fields and Priestfield (WV2) with an average house price of £101,617. A deposit of £15,243 and income of £21,594 is required. However, as the postcode suggests, it is closer to the city centre of Wolverhampton than Birmingham.

    • For first-time buyer bargains closer to Birmingham city centre itself, Lozells, Newtown and Birchfield (B19) - that is home to track and field's Alexander Stadium - ranks favourably, with the average house price £111,711.

    • Solihull and Sutton Coldfield represent the most expensive options for first-time buyers. Hockley Heath and Earlswood (B94, Solihull) have an average price of £397,206 and Four Oaks and Little Ashton (B74, Sutton Coldfield) an average of £282,058.

    Top 10 most affordable postcode areas in Birmingham 

    Postcode Area Average house price Average deposit required Average household income required
    WV2 All Saints, Wolverhampton £101,617 £15,243 £21,594
    B19 Birchfield £111,711 £16,757 £23,738
    WS2 Pleck, Walsall £113,297 £16,994 £24,076
    B6 Aston £114,364 £17,155 £24,302
    WV1 City centre, Wolverhampton £114,565 £17,185 £24,345
    DY2 Town centre, Dudley £117,328 £17,599 £24,932
    WV13 Willenhall £119,398 £17,910 £25,372
    WS3 Bloxwich, Walsall £119,488 £17,923 £25,391
    B7 Nechells £119,958 £17,994 £25,491
    B21 Handsworth £119,968 £17,995 £25,493

    How have we calculated it?

    We've looked at the average price of two-to-three bedroom homes - the most common type of property purchase for first-time buyers in Birmingham.

    We've then taken the average mortgage advance from lenders in the region and worked out both the average deposit required and the amount that needs to be earned based on buyers being able to borrow up to four times their salary.

    How can I afford a home as a first-time buyer?

    Build as big a deposit as possible is the first step. This allows you to borrow a lower percentage of the overall value of the property and allows you to gain a better mortgage rate.

    Aim for a minimum 10% deposit. It is possible to put down less in some cases, but this means your monthly repayments will be higher or you will be paying off the mortgage for longer.

    The Government's dedicated Help to Buy schemes are there to help you build a deposit. For certain property, you can also use its Equity Loan scheme, where the Government will lend you 20% of the purchase price interest-free for the first five years.

    Provided your credit score is in good order and your outgoings to do not limit your ability to repay a mortgage, banks and building societies will lend up to an average of four times your salary. If you are buying as a couple, then combining your incomes could make the difference. 

    Knowing how big your deposit is and understanding how much you might be able to borrow, means you can assess how pricey a property you can afford. You can then begin your search.

    Don’t forget that when buying a home, there will be other fees such as solicitor and moving costs. The good news is that stamp duty land tax is waived for first-time buyers on the first £300,000 of the purchase.

    For more help purchasing your first home, read our first-time buyers guides here.

    First-time buyer affordability in the West Midlands

    In certain areas of the UK, led by London and the South East, it is almost impossible to find postcode areas where average salaries are high enough to meet lenders' acceptable loan-to-income ratio.

    However, there are areas in Birmingham and the wider West Midlands where borrowing four times average earnings will be enough for first-time buyers to take an initial step on to the property ladder. 

    Birchfield, close to Birmingham city centre falls into this category, as does B37 that takes in Chelmsley Wood and Marston Green to the east of the city.

    If you are looking further afield, north and east of Birmingham provides the most affordable options. First-time buyers can find property in Stoke-on-Trent's ST1 postcode area for an average of £85,386, which demands an average first-time buyer's household income of £18,145.

    Burton-upon-Trent, Tamworth and Nuneaton are all viable alternatives to the east, and Bromsgrove to the south west could also be a more affordable choice within commuting distance of Birmingham.

    (Click on image for larger map)

    First-time buyer affordability in the UK 

    If you're prepared to cast your search further afield still, then our first-time buyer affordability map of the UK will help. 

    There are more affordable alternatives to the West Midlands if you head north or are prepared to venture into Wales and beyond Cardiff.  

    It's also worth noting that while the UK-wide map might provide a helpful overview, the property market varies on a far more local level and you really need to take a closer look at locations, like we've done with Birmingham, above to seek out value.

    Full methodology: House prices taken from a subset of Zoopla-partner Hometrack's stock valuation database (one-to-two beds for London and two-to-three bedrooms for rest of UK). Median price calculated as of June 2018. Median advance taken by region (c75% for London, c85% outside of London) from UK Finance. Term of Mortgage: 25 years. Interest rate: 2.00%. Loan to income ratio: 4.0. Earnings required for affordability is greater of those required to satisfy loan-to-income threshold or income required to service the mortgage.

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