Is It Cheaper to Live in Glasgow or Edinburgh?

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Is It Cheaper to Live in Glasgow or Edinburgh?
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Are you trying to decide whether to move to Glasgow or Edinburgh? There are certainly a lot of things you need to consider before you make a decision, so to make your job a little easier, in this article, we’re going to help you out, at least when it comes to living costs in Scotland’s two biggest cities.

In this article, we’re going to compare Glasgow and Edinburgh when it comes to population, transport links, employment, and overall safety. After that, we will take a closer look at the property market in each of the two cities and help you decide which city is best for you.

What Are the Main Differences Between Glasgow and Edinburgh?

Though the distance between Glasgow and Edinburgh is less than 50 miles, these two cities are dramatically different. Glasgow is best known for its lively and vibrant atmosphere, while Edinburgh is more popular for its history and centuries-old traditions.


Glasgow is undoubtedly Scotland’s largest city, as far as population is concerned. Currently, it’s home to about 600,000 people, which, funnily enough, is around 13% of Scotland’s entire population. As for Edinburgh, the population in Scotland’s capital is around 500,000.


Both Glasgow and Edinburgh are cities of endless opportunity, but Glasgow is the winner here as it has a more diverse economy, which has a particular focus on manufacturing and healthcare. Edinburgh, on the other hand, mostly focuses on financial services and tourism.

Both cities have excellent transport links, including trams, buses, trains, and airports. However, Glasgow has a far more extensive subway system, making it the winner here.


Both Glasgow and Edinburgh are considered safe in comparison with the rest of the UK, and cities like London. However, Edinburgh is considered to be much safer, as crime continues to trouble Glasgow far more than any other city in Scotland.

If we had to pick a winner based on the criteria above, if you’re a young person looking for new opportunities, Glasgow is the place to go. If you have a family, Edinburgh might be a better choice as it is generally quieter and more laid back.

How Much Do Properties Cost in Glasgow

Property prices in Glasgow saw an increase of 5% over the last 12 months and are about 13% down since 2006. The average cost of a property in Glasgow today is around £200,000, which is far less than the UK average.

Of course, the price you can expect to pay for your property will heavily depend on the type of property you decide to buy and where the property is located. As you can imagine, a three-bedroom detached house close to the city centre in Glasgow will be far more expensive than a house of similar size and type in the suburbs.

Being the largest city in terms of population in Scotland, Glasgow enjoys a fairly hot property market. So if you decide to buy a house, finding cash house buyers to sell your property to when you decide to move on won’t be an issue at all.

How Much Do Properties Cost in Edinburgh

Over the last year, the average property price went up by 6%, which is a whole 1% higher than properties in Glasgow. Unfortunately, even with the increase, property prices are still 24% lower than they were in 2006 (£437,034 compared to now, £331,705). On the bright side, if you’re only now looking to get into the property market, you’re in luck because properties are far cheaper than they once were.

It’s worth mentioning that property prices in Edinburgh will massively vary depending on the type of property you’re looking for and the location of the property. A two-bedroom apartment in the city centre of Edinburgh will be far more expensive than an apartment of the same size in Royal Mile or Newtown.

Where Should You Buy a Property to Live in – Glasgow or Edinburgh?

When trying to decide which city is best for buying a property in, there are a few things you want to consider. For example, if you’re looking to get more value for money, Glasgow is definitely the place for you as the average property in the area costs around £130,000 less compared to Edinburgh.

If you are looking to buy a property to live in, and make the most return on your investment, Edinburg would be a better choice since the market is growing faster, 6% over 5% over the last year. Do keep in mind that since 2006, the property market in Edinburgh lost around 24% of its value, whereas Glasgow only lost 13%.

In our opinion, if we put aside the financial side of things, if you are a young person looking to enjoy the hustle and bustle of Glasgow, then Scotland’s most popular city amongst the local population is definitely a good idea. On the other hand, if you are planning to have a family and want some more peace, Edinburgh is a better choice.

General Living Costs – Edinburgh vs Glasgow

Now that we know properties in Glasgow are much cheaper than properties in Edinburgh, what about the general living costs, such as renting, groceries, and others? Based on our general analysis, here is what we found:

  • Consumer prices in Edinburgh are 4.0% lower than in Glasgow (except rent)
  • Consumer prices, including rent in Edinburgh, are 5.5% higher than in Glasgow
  • Rent prices in Edinburg are 30% higher than in Glasgow
  • Local purchasing power in Edinburgh is 10.4% lower than in Glasgow
  • Grocery prices in Edinburgh are 4.4% lower than in Glasgow
  • Restaurant prices in Edinburgh are around 2% higher than in Glasgow

In conclusion, Glasgow is the better city to live in if you want to live on a budget, and Edinburgh is the better city to live in if you want a higher quality of life and the living costs don’t particularly affect you.

What’s The Better Option in Scotlan d?

Overall, Glasgow is a much cheaper city to live in, especially when it comes to buying or renting a property. Property prices in Edinburgh are around 30% higher than those in Glasgow, so if you’re on a budget, Glasgow is the definite winner.

If we put property prices aside, the cost of living in both cities is relatively similar, with Glasgow still being a little cheaper than Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh. And to be honest, it makes perfect sense. At the end of the day, Edinburgh is a tourist hot spot, and because of that, it makes sense for everything to be more expensive.

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