A RISE in house prices in recent years has made it hard for first time buyers to get a step on the property ladder.

The average UK home now costs £240,000 compared with £200,000 just five years ago, Zoopla figures revealed.

But figures show across the East of England property prices are lower than the national average.

To get first time buyers or those looking for an investment opportunity started on their search, we've compiled a list of five of the cheapest properties in Essex on Rightmove.

Studio apartment, Colchester

Thurrock Gazette: Credit: Haart/RightmoveCredit: Haart/Rightmove

This ground floor studio apartment in Highwoods is advertised by Haart on Rightmove as an "investment opportunity".

It includes a fully fitted kitchen, an open plan bedroom and sitting room and allocated parking as well as A12 access.

The home in Sioux Close is selling at a guide price of £100,000.

For more details on this property click here.

Bungalow, Clacton-on-Sea

Thurrock Gazette: Credit: Haart / RightmoveCredit: Haart / Rightmove

This former two bedroom, now double bedroom detached bungalow in the village of Jaywick is offered chain free.

Its guide price on Rightmove is between just £65,000 to £75,000.

The key features of this bungalow close to the beach are its double bedroom, central heating, shower room and kitchen.

For more information click here.

Studio apartment, Braintree

Thurrock Gazette: Credit: Haart / RightmoveCredit: Haart / Rightmove

This modern one bedroom studio apartment in Fairfield Road is listed as an ideal property for a first time buyer or investment purchaser.

It is an open place property located within a short walk of Braintree train station.

The guide price is between £135,000 and £140,000.

For more information visit Rightmove's website.

Maisonette, Southend

Thurrock Gazette: Credit: Bairstow Eves / RightmoveCredit: Bairstow Eves / Rightmove

One of the cheapest properties in Southend listed on Rightmove is this maisonette in Peartree Close.

While it requires refurbishment, the home - selling for £125,000 - is advertised as an ideal first home buy, refurbishment project or buy to let investment.

It is a purpose built one bedroom first floor flat with key features including a lounge/diner and kitchen, three piece bathroom suite and a share of the back garden.

For more information visit the listing here.

Terraced house, Canvey Island

Thurrock Gazette: Credit: Anthony Quirk / RightmoveCredit: Anthony Quirk / Rightmove

One of the cheapest properties in Canvey Island is this terraced house in the Cornelius Vermuyden School catchment.

It boasts three double bedrooms, downstairs toilet, a back garden and large family bathroom suite.

There is an open event on December 21 for this First Avenue property, for more information click here.