Scottish cities offer sanctuary for first time buyers as Glasgow retains crown as best


ALDERMORE’S First Time Buyer Appeal Index, analysing 50 cities across the UK to understand the best places for first-time buyers, reveals that for the second year running, Glasgow has taken the top-spot.

Despite an increasingly challenging housing market, this year’s Appeal Index demonstrated there were still many locations which provide opportunity for first-time buyers. However, there is a regional divide in homebuying opportunity, with the Index continuing to be dominated by cities in Scotland and the North West of England, while cities in the South trail behind.  

The Appeal Index looks at 10 indicators across two key pillars – property and lifestyle – that impact first-time buyer desirability.

Aldermore’s First Time Buyer Appeal Index’s top 10 ‘hotspots’

RankingCityRegionOverall Score
4ManchesterNorth West66
5LiverpoolNorth West65
6NewcastleNorth East62
8DerbyEast Midlands58

Scotland offers the strongest appeal for younger population

Scottish cities continue to occupy the top spots in the Appeal Index, offering the strongest opportunities for first time buyers to get their foot onto the property ladder. First time buyers in Scotland are getting over the first hurdle of raising a deposit, more easily than in other cities in the UK, with smaller average deposits to income ratio needed. Additionally, these cities boast enticing lifestyle opportunities, with competitive pay, reasonable commuting times, and a high proportion of bars and restaurants. With an average first-time property price of £158,310 in Glasgow and a projected annual increase of 7% in the coming years, it also provides a good future investment.

Edinburgh fared less well than other Scottish cities in the Index, falling from 5th place in 2022 to 10th place. The city scored well in terms of the lifestyle pillar – with a young population (26% aged between 25-35) and a large graduate workforce (69%) indicating social life and employment opportunities for local FTBs. However, property prices are much higher in Edinburgh (on average £268,562), and in turn, the amount needed for a deposit in the city is higher (£67,224 compared to the average FTB deposit in Glasgow of £32,385).  However, good pay, healthy graduate opportunities and plentiful social activities were enough to ensure Edinburgh a place in the top ten.

Jon Cooper, head of mortgages at Aldermore, said: “First-time buyers have had a challenging year, facing higher interest rates and increased market uncertainty. It’s therefore understandable that some people are questioning whether or not to put their homebuying plans on the backburner. However, as we can see, there are still fantastic opportunities available in the UK, with many regions not only offering healthy returns on properties but are also fulfilling key lifestyle considerations, which for some, is just as important in the homebuying search.

“Becoming a homeowner is a wonderful step forward in a person’s life, and for many is a rite of passage. Despite the current environment, first time buyers can still realise their homebuying dreams.”

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