Most affordable places in Europe: the cities where first-time buyers can save for a deposit the quickest

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Lauren Geall
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Bern, Switzerland

Looking to buy a home? These are the European cities where you can save for a deposit the quickest, according to a new study.

For many people, buying a one-bedroom flat – let alone a house – in the UK can feel like a bit of a pipe dream.

No matter where you live, saving up for a deposit and finding a mortgage is often a real challenge. Not only do sky-high rent prices making saving any money difficult, but the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the economy means that low-percentage mortgages could be off the table for some time to come.

However, this stark state of affairs isn’t necessarily the case in other areas of the world. Across Europe, for example, there are a number of cities where saving for a deposit on a one-bedroom flat would take you far less time than it does in London – even if your average monthly income worked out less. 

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That’s according to a recent study from property developer Barratt Homes, which compared the average monthly income, living costs and deposits across various European cities to reveal how long it would take first-time buyers to save a deposit for a one-bedroom flat in each location.

As you might expect, the UK and Ireland didn’t prove very affordable – at all.

In London, it’ll take you an average of 73 months to save for a one-bedroom flat in the capital. This is because the average property price and average living cost (£2,088) is massively expensive compared to the average income (£2,819), making it impossible to save enough for a deposit in a short time frame.

London came out as one of the least affordable cities for first-time buyers, surprise surprise.

The only cities which proved even more expensive were Zagreb, Prague, Budapest, Rome and, as is to be expected, Monaco.

Although Dublin did prove more affordable than London, it’ll still take any first-time buyer an uncomfortable 53 months to get their foot on the property ladder.

In other regions of Europe, however, there was some better news for first-time buyers.

Vaduz, Liechtenstein proved the most affordable city for those looking to get on the property ladder, with an average saving time of only six months required to buy a one-bedroom flat. That’s thanks to its high average monthly income (£4,761) and comparatively low living costs (£1498) which make saving a relative breeze. 

Vaduz, Liechtenstein
In Vaduz, Liechtenstein, it takes just six months to save a deposit for a one-bedroom flat on average.

Following Vaduz were Bern in Switzerland (the city at the top of this article), where it takes around nine months to save, and Brussels in Belgium, where it’ll take you around a year to get a deposit together. Also proving relatively affordable were Andorra la Vella, Andorra, Nicosia, Cyprus and Copenhagen in Denmark.

Although moving to Europe may have become trickier thanks to Brexit (you can check out the different requirements for each country on the government’s website), it’s interesting to see how the prospects of first-time buyers living in the UK and Ireland look compared to our neighbours. 

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You can see the top 10 list below:

  1. Vaduz, Liechtenstein
  2. Bern, Switzerland
  3. Brussels, Belgium
  4. Andorra la Vella, Andorra
  5. Nicosia, Cyprus
  6. Copenhagen, Denmark
  7. Berlin, Germany
  8. Oslo, Norway
  9. Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  10. Helsinki, Finland

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.

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