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The most affordable places to live in the UK

What's the most affordable place to live in the UK? We think it's a little more complicated than that — so we help you look beyond the rankings and find the right choice for you.


When looking at where to live, most of us want our money to go as far as possible. Whether you’re a first-time buyer, an investor, or just upgrading to a bigger home, there’s almost always a balance of location and affordability. Which leads a lot of people to wonder, What’s the most affordable place to live in the UK? Where are house prices the cheapest? 

A quick Google will reveal a lot of answers to that question. With so much information out there, how do you know the best place to live and, more importantly, how do you know the best place to live for you? We’ll help you sort through these lists and find out how they can help you make a big decision.

The most affordable places to live lists

Much like lists on the ‘happiest places to live in the UK’, there is no shortage of lists of ‘the most affordable places to live in the UK’. But there are a lot of different things ‘affordable’ can mean. If you’re looking just in terms of house prices, County Durham tends to dominate lists of affordable UK homes again and again — like this list from Zoopla data, which put Shildon, Ferryhill, and Peterlee all in the top five. But other Zoopla data compared average earnings to house prices to see where affordability has improved the most — Shildon still made the top of the list, but places like Cleator Moor and Kilbirnie were also in the top five. 

And if you’re a first-time buyer, Hull, Middlesbrough, and Liverpool should be at the top of your search, according to another list

What does it mean? It’s hard to define “most affordable” — although you can safely bet that house prices in the north tend to be more affordable than those in the south. Cities tend to be more expensive than rural areas. But you’ll still find a lot of variation within a given region — or even within a given town. So lists like these can be a great starting off point, but it’s best to make sure you’re finding the right fit for you.

For any area you may move to, don't just look at house prices — look at how your general expenses would compare to where you live now. "

How budgeting tools can help

Of course, you need to look beyond the headlines — especially if you want to figure out what’s most affordable for you. Obviously, the cost of living (and the prices of homes), will play a factor. But what about your needs? An affordable area may look less affordable if you suddenly have to shell out for a 2-hour commute each way. But maybe living in an area with plenty of hiking and outdoor swimming can save you from an expensive gym membership.

You can use a cost of living calculator to look at what different everyday items — from restaurants to transport to clothing — cost in different areas. There are also handy budget planners that can you get a sense of what you can afford, so if you know if that new neighbourhood is really within your reach.

So how do you know where to start? As we said, if affordability is top of your mind, then looking at house prices and average salaries is a great starting point — like this list of the most affordable postcodes in Yorkshire. Find an area you want to consider, and see what the range of prices are when you're starting your search.

But for any area you may move to, look at how your general expenses would compare to where you live now — commuting, socializing, child care, weekly shops, and any other activities you can think of. That will give you the best sense of finding the right (and most affordable) area for you.

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