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Europe's best and worst capitals to buy your first home

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
The Russian capital, Moscow. Photo: Kommersant Photo Agency/SIPA USA/PA Images

New research suggests Brussels is the best European capital for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder—as long as they can land a job in the Belgian city.

The research by UK lender Together Money found buyers in Brussels spent the lowest proportion of their income on mortgage payments.

The survey looked at property prices per square metre, average wages and other factors including the cost of living to decide on Europe’s best and worst capitals for people buying for the first time.

The Swiss capital Bern finished second in the rankings despite its extremely expensive property prices, as average salaries are also among the highest in Europe. It also had the lowest interest rates of 34 capitals analysed.

READ MORE: The UK’s surprising top city for first-time buyers

Copenhagen in Denmark ranked third on the list, followed by Luxembourg City and then Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus.

The analysis, based on Numbeo data from December last year, also singled out Moscow as the ‘worst city for first-time buyers’ because of the huge gap between average incomes and property prices.

The average city centre apartment in the Russian capital will set you back £3,694 per square metre, but the average monthly salary is only £708.

The gap means average mortgage payments are 2.4 times higher than average wages, suggesting locals have little chance of getting on the ladder unless they earn their money elsewhere.

The Ukrainian capital Kiev ranked second worst, followed by Budapest in Hungary, Lisbon in Portugal and Rome in Italy.

The 10 ‘best cities’ to buy in Europe

  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

The 10 ‘worst cities’ to buy in Europe

  1. Moscow, Russia
  2. Kiev, Ukraine
  3. Budapest, Hungary
  4. Lisbon, Portugal
  5. Rome, Italy
  6. Prague, Czech Republic
  7. Zagreb, Croatia
  8. London, UK
  9. Ljubljana, Slovenia
  10. Warsaw, Poland