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Britain's Most Expensive Town


By Simon Thompson
 
     
Ever thought the town you live in is quite pricey? Considering moving somewhere else after you graduate? When choosing a place to live, some areas are indeed much more expensive than the others, with differences so big that you may think you can be much better off living in the middle of nowhere, paying a fraction of what you would spend while renting a place in one of the UK’s biggest cities. So, is that really a thing and should we all pack our bags to move to a tiny hut in the woods? And what REALLY is the most expensive town to live in Britain? We’ve found out especially for you!

When thinking in “most expensive" terms, people sometimes forget that usually bigger and more expensive towns offer better possibilities with regards to job opportunities and highest annual pay. Bearing that in mind, you simply can’t compare one town to another with just one set of numbers – you need to investigate more carefully. That’s why this article won’t only tell you what the most expensive town to live in Britain is (don’t we all know the answer already?) but also what place is the least affordable – the real measure when thinking of what quality of life money can buy in certain areas.

MOST EXPENSIVE: LONDON

The only British citiy to rank in the top 20 most expensive cities in the world according to Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2014 Worldwide Cost of Living Survey (placing 15th with the only other UK city, Manchester, ranking 49th). Although costs of living in London are nothing compared to the most expensive city in the world, Singapore, they may shock someone moving there for the first time. On average, you will pay around £127 for a monthly transport ticket and £2,360 a month for renting an 85sq metre flat. However, it needs to be remembered that London’s economy distinctively outperforms the rest of UK. The average household income in London is 30% above the national average, making it easier for Londoners to afford higher accommodation and transportation costs. As a truly global city, the capital also offers more jobs for graduates and in some cases, is one of the few cities you can live in while considering starting a career in a certain industry. Interestingly though, Westminster, London’s most central and, seemingly, ludicrously expensive borough ranked only 7th in the Lloyds Bank’s report on the country’s least affordable cities. What data did researchers take into consideration on which city is the least affordable?!

LEAST AFFORDABLE: OXFORD

To create the list, Lloyds compared average house prices with local earnings making this University city the least affordable in Britain. In Oxford, the average property price of almost £341,000 is more than 11 times the local wage (and how, exactly, do you get a mortgage with that?!); and almost twice the price of a property in the UK’s most affordable town, Stirling. Not surprisingly, the five least affordable cities are all located in the South, with Winchester, Turo, Bath and Brighton also making it to the top of the list. York, the only Northern city to make it to the list’s line-up comes up at number 20. However, as with London being the most expensive city in the UK, Oxford being the least affordable can also be explained. Being in close proximity to London means that Oxford is a commuting town – people not necessarily liking the capital’s hustle and bustle, but working there commute from Oxford every day but do not make up local wage and contribute to the average London wage instead. So is it affordable or not then? It’s up to you to decide.

At the end of the day, when choosing a place to live, numbers don’t really matter – always remember that statistics also consider the extremes which may influence the results. Graduating from different courses and liking different things, every one of us is different and it’s an entirely individual choice. Still, it is good to know more or less what costs of living in your dream city may be, so hopefully you found this article helpful!

Written by Dagmara Reczka

 
 
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