What’s the cheapest and safest place to live in the UK? Our top 10 locations

the cheapest and safest place to live in the uk

Whether you’re finally in the position to get yourself on the housing ladder or are looking for the ideal place to rent, you’re not the only one looking to switch up your living situation. As remote work has become more popular, we’ve seen a change in priorities and greater flexibility in where people shack up. And what does this call for? Discovering which areas, big and small, are the cheapest and safest places to live in the UK.

Use our handy list of some of the most affordable and safest towns in the UK to get ahead of this shifting residential market. With the right research, consideration and planning you’re sure to find your dream home without paying through the nose for it.

Estimating the cheapest place to live in the UK

There are a lot of factors affecting the affordability of different residential locations in the UK. The current cost of living crisis is important, hence why one of the biggest factors is the cost of housing in your area of interest.

Price to earnings

The ‘Price to Earnings’ ratio or PE of an area is how much properties cost in an area on average compared to the average annual living wage of a person living there. If the house you want to buy in that area is closer to your annual wage, then this is the largest factor to whether an area is more affordable on your salary.

PE is shown as ‘X’ times average earnings. For example, a PE of 4 would mean that on average the properties within that area would be valued at 4 times the amount of the average person’s annual wage in that area.

Rental prices

PE ratios are good indicators of affordability for renters because rental markets are influenced by overall house prices. Usually, the lower the local house prices, the lower the rental prices.

There are obviously areas where this is not the case and parts of the UK that are disproportionate in this term. This could be down to the types of properties on the market, accessibility of transport links, new and upcoming investment plans for the area among many other components. So, remember: this is only a rough guideline.

Cost of moving services

Other factors that will impact your decision and how much it costs to move house include the price of moving services in the area. In some areas, removal companies will charge significantly more than others. This will likely be a direct link to living costs within the area.

Areas where living costs are higher mean you pay more for other services. A good example would be London; you will find moving costs to be a lot more expensive in London than in Birmingham purely down to living costs.

Public transport accessibility and fares

Public transport links and costs could be another factor for some people too. If you don’t have a car and rely on public transport, you could be spending a lot of money every year. Therefore, if you live somewhere with cheaper bus fares with well-connected routes, you’ll be saving lots of money.

Identifying the safest towns in the UK

Safety is another big factor when it comes to the desirability of an area. Like costs, there are numerous factors which determine the overall safety of a location; the main one being the amount of crime in an area.

Crimes per resident

It stands to reason: the more crime, the less safe an area is. It’s easy to determine how safe an area is by conducting a quick search to find out its amount of crime – there are lots of statistics and plenty of evidence out there, right at your fingertips.

The overall crime rate is measured by the number of crimes per 1000 residents. This means you can take a comprehensive look at each area and adjust it as necessary for varying populations. For this reason, we’ve used it in our methodology for rating the top 10 safest places to move to.

VanaMango’s top 10 safest and cheapest places to live in the UK

durham as the cheapest and safest place to live in the uk

1. Durham

Situated in the Northeast of England and just south of Newcastle, Durham is a city with idyllic 13th-century buildings and some lovely gardens for walking. It’s home to Durham University and is a popular place for a night out too with some bustling bars.

Durham is one of the cheapest places to live in the UK and it is a popular destination for students as it has good law schools and well-esteemed universities. The average rent of a 1-bed apartment is £650 per month, whilst on the outskirts of the city it is £360 per month. Utility bills are on average £235 per month and a monthly travel pass is £55 per month.

Safety rating – 7.58 per 100 residents

2. Leicester

Leicester is a historic city with an abundance of restaurants, bars and attractions to keep you busy. It is one of the cheapest places to live in the UK with the average cost of living being £600 not including rent and course fees.

For a 1-bed flat, the average cost is £455 in Leicester, while the utility bills are around £100 per month. A monthly travel pass in the area costs £50, ideal for public transport users. The property market in Leicester has also grown in recent years with the average property now costing £216,946.

Safety rating – 128 per 1000 residents

Lancaster as one of the cheapest and safest places in the uk

3. Lancaster

Lancaster is a place of great historic heritage, it’s full of medieval-style buildings and is home to Lancaster Castle which offers amazing views over the river Lune.

Lancaster is very affordable with the average monthly rent being £567 in the town and £440 outside of the city. Utility bills cost approximately £172 a month and transport is cheap too, costing just £80 per month.

A property in Lancaster on average will cost £194,853 with the majority of properties in Lancaster being terraced houses.

Safety rating – 46 per 1000 residents

4. Cardiff

The capital of Wales and also Wales’s largest city. With a population of over 290,000 people, which makes it the 11th most populated city in the UK, Cardiff has plenty to offer.

Cost of living is surprisingly cheap in Cardiff too. A 1-bed flat will cost you approximately £663 inside the city and £504 on the outskirts. Utility bills will come to approximately £202 per month but costs for transport are quite low. A monthly travel pass in Cardiff only costs £53 if you’re travelling by public transport in Cardiff.

The average property price in Cardiff varies dependent on which area of Cardiff you live in. The most affordable area is under the ‘CF43 3’ postcode where the average property price is £82,300. However, in ‘CF64 31’ you’d be looking at the average price of properties costing £559,000.

Safety rating – 103.09 per 1000 residents.

Newcastle as one of the cheapest and safest places in the uk

5. Newcastle

Newcastle is a city which is well known for its universities. It has an abundance of young people who live there to study at both Northumbria University or Newcastle University, making up a whopping 42,000-strong student population. However, there are plenty of entertainment options for all ages with a busy high street, beautiful scenes by the quayside, great nightlife and the beach isn’t far either.

A 1-bed flat in Newcastle will set you back £650 per month in the city and £450 on the outskirts. Utility bills will cost approximately £130 per month and amenities such as restaurants, bars and gyms are all reasonably priced too. A monthly Metro pass will cost you upwards of £46.50 and can get you all the way to the coast if you opt for an ‘all zones’ ticket.

In 2022, the average price of a property in Newcastle was £202,247. Most of these properties were terraced houses and they averaged £176,840 compared to semi-detached houses, which sold for £197,976, and flats which went for £122,983.

Safety rating – 41 per 1000 residents

6. Coventry

A lovely city located in central England. It’s most famous for the Coventry Cathedral which was left in ruins after being bombed in WWII. However, there is now a 20th-century replacement which stands beside it.

The cost of renting a 1-bed flat in Coventry is cheaper than in other cities, the average price was £655 per month in the city and £530 on the outskirts. The average utility bill was £181 per month. Coventry is home to cheap local markets and transportation is affordable too, only costing £51 inside the city. The average price of a property in Coventry is £237,130.

Safety rating – 111 per 1000 residents

Lincoln as one of the cheapest and safest places in the uk

7. Lincoln

Lincoln is located in the East Midlands of England and is well known for its large Lincoln Cathedral. It also has other notable landmarks which include Lincoln Castle which has a copy of the Magna Carta and a Victorian prison.

The average cost of a 1-bed flat in Lincoln is £616 per month and it is £471 if you live on the outskirts of the city. Utility bills will cost you around £135 per month and public transport is cheap within the city at approximately £52 per month.

The average house price is 212K and the median price is 183K. Over the last 12 months, house prices in Lincoln have declined by 1%.

Safety rating – 138 per 1000 residents

8. Nottingham

Nottingham is full of parks with over 20 in the city and the schools are very good too. The average salary is £25,500 and the house prices are low compared to other places in the UK. Statistics show that Nottingham is 35% cheaper to live in than London, 10% more expensive than Liverpool and 9% more expensive than Bristol.

Nottingham is a very affordable place to live with a 1-bed flat costing £610 per month within the city and on the outside costing £437. The average price of a property in Nottingham is £229,000 and basic utility bills come to an average of £167 per month. Amenities such as sports, cinema and childcare are all reasonably priced too.

Nottingham has a large university and is one of the cheapest places for students. Lenton is a great place to find cheap student housing. A travel pass for the month costs £56 in the city makes transport cheap too.

Safety rating – 124.998 per 1000 residents

Liverpool as one of the cheapest and safest places in the uk

9. Liverpool

Liverpool is located in the north of England, and it is a 3-hour train journey from London. It has a large port and was a key trading point in the 18th and 20th centuries.

The cost of living in Liverpool is reasonably priced. It costs on average £655 per month for a 1 bed flat and, if you don’t live in the centre, it will only cost you £490 per month. The average cost of your utility bills will be £160, which is cheap for a major city.

Transportation in Liverpool is also cheap costing £67 per month. If you are living on a budget, amenities in Liverpool are not too expensive. You can find cheap fitness centres and shops for groceries.

Over the past year house prices have increased 9% in Liverpool. The average property in Liverpool costs £194,000.

Safety rating – 53.7 per 1000 residents

10. Manchester

Manchester is one of the largest cities with the second largest population in the UK. It is also home to two of the UK’s largest universities, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester. The city is known for its great nightlife and for being a popular choice for students and young people. The average income in Manchester is £26,000.

Manchester is an affordable place to live, especially if you compare it to other large cities. A 1 bed flat in the city will cost on average £830 per month and £548 outside the city. The average cost of utility bills for a family of 4 would be £125 per month. Transportation is also reasonably priced costing £70 per month.

The average cost of a semi-detached property in Manchester is £304,208, the average cost of a terraced property is £226,155 and flats cost £210,174.

Safety rating – 43.85 per 1000 residents

Good luck with the move!

We’ve arrived at the end of the list of our cheapest and safest places to live in the UK. We hope this has given you some food for thought and enough insight to make the best decision for you.

And if you’re itching to move yourself to one of these locations, we can help. Check out our moving preparation guide to streamline the process. We’re full of helpful advice, our team is just a message away to help you book your move.

And one last thing… Good luck!