Travel

These are the most affordable capital cities in Europe for first-time buyers

Posted by
Megan Murray
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Goodbye London, hello Europe…

We don’t have to tell you the woes of being a first-time buyer in London. Shoe boxes marketed as ‘spacious studios’ are going for more than near-mansions further up the country, but – sigh – this is the price we literally pay for wanting to live in the capital.

Unless, that is, you’re willing to widen your search, and instead of living in ‘this’ capital you’re happy to live in ‘a’ capital…

Starting to catch our drift?

There are loads of benefits to moving abroad, from decreased levels of stress and improved job performance to greater life satisfaction, and it seems buying your first house could now be on the list.

Specialist lender, Together Money, has done a comprehensive report looking at factors buyers are likely to consider when purchasing a property for the first time. Focusing in on mortgage as a percent of income, average monthly bill cost, travel pass costs and price per square metre of a home in the city centre, Together Money has determined which European capitals are realistic options for first time buyers. 

Coming top of the list is Brussels in Belgium, where a monthly travel pass is just £43.23, bills average at £119.13 and a monthly salary average is £1,787.12. Price per square metre currently stands at £2,791.83 for a city centre apartment – which works out as 43.99% of the monthly wage.

Comparing this with London, and we’re looking at £13,397.67 per square metre to buy a city centre apartment, which equals 143.62% of the monthly wage. Oh, and on top of that, travel cards cost £135 a month, with bills at £148 on average. Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

But if Brussels isn’t the place for you, how about Bern in Switzerland? Despite Switzerland being known as an expensive destination, for those who actually live there, these expenses level out as wages are so much higher.

Although buyers on average look at paying £9,023.49 per square metre for a city centre apartment, the average salary for locals is the highest out of all the countries analysed - £3,447.66 a month, meaning they can afford the high prices.

In third place is Copenhagen in Denmark, potentially our favourite capital on the list thanks to its reputation as having one of the happiest populations. Notorious for style and culture, this fashion and design hot spot may look worth its weight in gold, but it’s surprisingly affordable.

Not only is travel reasonably priced, costing £47.24 for a monthly pass, but the average wage is £2,543.84 a month, which equates to 50.63% of mortgage payments. Again, a heck of a lot less than the London example.

To see the full list of capital cities in Europe that could make a good spot for a first time buyer see below:

1. Brussels, Belgium 
2. Bern, Switzerland 
3. Copenhagen, Denmark
4. Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
5. Nicosia, Cyprus
6. Reykjavik, Iceland
7. Helsinki, Finland
8. Oslo, Norway
9. Berlin, Germany 
10. Amsterdam, Netherlands  

Images: Nick Karvounis / Getty 

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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