Edinburgh named third most expensive place to live in UK, with high rents the biggest factor
Edinburgh is the third most expensive place to live in the UK if you live on your own, a study has found. Only people in London and Bristol face bigger costs, according to the calculations which looked at average bills for rent, utilities, shopping, restaurants, clothes and transport in the UK’s 20 biggest cities.
The study put the monthly cost of solo living in central Edinburgh at £1,735, compared to £3,075 in London and £1,913 in Bristol. Living outside the city centre did not change the the ranking – Edinburgh remained the third most expensive UK city for solo living with a cost of £1,485 per month compared to London’s £2,430 and Bristol’s £1,654.
But it was clear that high rents in the Capital were the key factor in putting Edinburgh so near the top of the league table. Estimated monthly costs, without rent, for a single person in Edinburgh came in at number 11 out of the 20 cities. And Edinburgh was the fifth cheapest when it came to the cost of basic utilities for an 85 square metre apartment and also monthly internet charges.
The study found the monthly rent for a one-bedroom flat in the centre of Edinburgh was £1005.40, making it the third highest, behind London, where the rent was £2086.54, and Bristol, where it was £1146.96. For the same size of property outside the city centre, Edinburgh was third again with a cost of £755.23 per month while it was £1,442.38 in London and £888 in Bristol.
But buying a property rather than renting saw Edinburgh move out of the top three. The price per square metre to buy a flat in Edinburgh city centre, at £4,664.57, was cheaper than Birmingham and Sheffield as well as London and Bristol. And for a flat outside the centre, at £3,293.75 per sq metre, Edinburgh is cheaper than London, Bristol, Sheffield, Birmingham and Derby.
Chartered surveyors Stokemont, who commissioned the study, said: “As it stands, living costs in the UK are not expected to return to their 2021 levels in real terms until 2027. The cost of living crisis has seen inflation and food shortages, with wages struggling to keep up with rising costs. Notably, rents are now at their highest rate on record, alongside rising energy bills. For those seeking to live alone at such a time, weathering the storm relies heavily on addressing this factor.
“Unsurprisingly, the study found that the most expensive city to live alone in the UK is London. The monthly cost of living alone in the English capital is just over £3,075, which is over £1,000 more than any other city in the country. Rental prices rose by 12.4 per cent last year, due to a decreasing number of available properties and an increased demand.”
The company said the reasons Bristol took second spot mirrored those found in London. “Students and workers returning to the city after Covid have generated an imbalance in the housing demand-to-supply ratio, leading to higher rental costs. It was reported by Zoopla in December that many renters are now paying up to 35 per cent of their income towards rent, a figure which could increase further if the crisis continues.
“The high rental costs in Edinburgh brings the city to third place on Stokemont’s list, with many private tenants seeing a significant increase in this figure from landlords since 2021. The crisis prompted the Scottish government to introduce emergency measures to ease the blow of spiralling costs in September 2022, including a rent freeze and eviction ban, with London Mayor Sadiq Khan suggesting the approach could be effective in the English capital too.”
The study found the cheapest city to live alone in the UK is Hull, with an estimated monthly cost of just over £1,068
Stokemont said they compiled their league table using cost-of-living figures for each city from the crowd-sourced global quality of life database Numbeo. And they calculated the monthly cost for a single person in each city by adding together the monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre and the estimated monthly costs for a single person without rent.
Ten most expensive cities in UK
(Estimated monthly cost of living for a single person in the city centre, including rent)
1 London £3,075.14
2 Bristol £1,913.86
3 Edinburgh £1,735.90
4 Manchester £1,682.63
5 Leeds £1,604.77
6 Belfast £1,567.48
7 Newcastle £1,557.90
8 Southampton £1,547.50
9 Glasgow £1,539.22
10 Liverpool £1,532.77