Huge North-South mortgage divide revealed among first time buyers

The state of the economy, mortgage availability, upfront costs and varying house prices across the UK are impacting affordability and financing options for first-time buyers.

mortgages north south uk

Regional differences are stopping first-time buyers from stepping onto the property ladder with some areas of the UK presenting more challenges than most for mortgages, research from Coventry for Intermediaries reveals.

The building society’s first-time buyer research shows over two-fifths (41%) of first time buyers in the North East say they are finding it difficult to secure mortgages – a stark contrast to the South West where just 18% find it difficult.


In the South East, where house prices are over 20% higher than the national average of £282,000, nearly a third (30%) of first-time buyers also reported that they have found it difficult to get on the ladder.

Meanwhile in the capital nearly nine out of 10 (87%) first-time buyers said that the current economic climate had prompted them to delay their home purchase – higher than any other region.

Jonathan Stinton, Coventry for intermediaries
Jonathan Stinton, Coventry for intermediaries

Jonathan Stinton, Head of Intermediaries at Coventry for intermediaries, says: “Our research suggests that many first-time buyers are continuing to face difficulties securing mortgages, in some cases delaying their plans to step onto the ladder.

“The reasons behind these challenges are different from region to region, influenced by factors such as varying house prices, upfront costs, mortgage products and economic conditions that can impact affordability and financing options.”

“Wherever first time buyers are looking to step onto the ladder, brokers are the ones who can give valuable support and guidance.”


He adds: “Understanding the different challenges buyers face in different parts of the country, and helping them to navigate the property market, will both help brokers to grow their client base, and ensure that borrowers are getting the best possible outcomes.”

The Neg revealed earlier this week how demand among first-time buyers for smaller homes helped to drive growth in UK property prices in the early months of this year.

Halifax revealed smaller homes had recorded the strongest increases as first-time buyers battle higher mortgage costs and the cost-of-living, accounting for 53% of all homes bought with a mortgage in 2023 –  the highest proportion since 1995.

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