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The 10 Cheapest Places to Live in the UK (2024)

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The 10 Cheapest Places to Live in the UK (2024)
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Are you looking to get onto the UK property ladder?

If so, you will undoubtedly have noticed that prices are rising rapidly in recent years.

So it’s only natural to wonder: where are the cheapest places to live around the country?

We have compiled information from a range of sources to give you a comprehensive list of the most affordable UK locations.

What makes a location affordable to live in?

The affordability of a town is not only determined by its property prices.

It is also measured by how property prices compare to the area’s average salary.

(After all, a typical salary is higher in Central London than in the north-east of England, for example.)

This is particularly important to take into account when thinking about affordability for first time buyers.

With that in mind, let’s begin our rundown…

The top 10 cheapest places to live in the UK

1. Cumnock, Scotland

photo of cumnock from a distance

A property in this small western Scottish town costs £79,030 on average, while a couple’s typical salary here is £75,665.

This makes it a very realistic place to get onto the property ladder.

Another advantage of Cumnock is that it’s close to the larger town of Ayr.

2. Shildon, North-East England

county durham countryside

As one of only two English locations on this list, Shildon ranks as the most affordable place to live in England.

The average income for a couple in this location is £65,438, while the median property sells for around £69,650.

The town, several miles northwest of Middlesborough, boasts one of the world’s first railway stations, built in 1825. 

3. Greenock, Scotland

photo of lake in Greenock

The third most affordable town in the UK is Greenock, located in Scotland’s west central Lowlands.

It is close to another highly affordable location on this list: Port Glasgow.

In Greenock, a typical property sells for £93,790 and the average couple’s salary is currently £76,700.

4. Saltcoats, Scotland

aerial photo of saltcoats

Saltcoats is located in North Ayrshire, approximately halfway between Ayr and Glasgow.

It looks out over the Firth of Clyde, one of Scotland’s most scenic areas.

Purchasing a property in Saltcoats will set you back by around £93,190.

This creates a house price-to-earnings ratio of 1.24 because the mean couple’s salary is £74,949.

5. Ardrossan, Scotland

Ardrossan bay in sunset

Once again, Ardrossan is located directly next door to Saltcoats in North Ayrshire.

Houses in this part of town are slightly more expensive, with a median price of £94,170. And a couple’s salary here tends to be around the same as in Saltcoats.

6. Girvan, Scotland

aerial photo of Girvan

Girvan has the highest property prices of all the locations on this list, by some way.

However, this comes with a reasonably steep average salary for most couples.

It is another town overlooking the scenic water views near Ayr.

The typical house price here is £102,130, compared with a £80,426 combined salary.

7. Irvine, Scotland

Irvine bay and boats in sunlight

Irvine is on the coast of the Firth of Clyde, not far from Ardrossan. The median house price in Irvine is £95,965.

Couples in the town tend to earn around £74,949 combined, creating a house price to earnings ratio of 1.28.

It’s an ideal place to live if you enjoy the small-town lifestyle and living on the coast.

8. Port Glasgow, Scotland

lit up church and tower blocks in Port Glasgow

Port Glasgow is located several miles east of Greenock and therefore benefits from the same affordability in the housing market.

The median house value here is £98,710, making it slightly more expensive than Greenock. And a typical couple’s salary is £76,700.

9. Peterlee, North-East England

aerial photo of factories near peterlee

Peterlee in County Durham is only the second location on this list outside of Scotland. It is in the North-East of England.

The house price to earnings ratio here is 1.3. The median property selling for £85,300, while a typical combined salary for an adult couple is £65,438.

Peterlee is also an attractive place to live due to its position on the north-east coast. This gives it good commuter links to Middlesborough and to Newcastle.

10. Wishaw, Scotland

photo of abandoned castle in Wishaw

The last location on this list is Wishaw, in Scotland’s North Lanarkshire.

At the time of writing, approximately 30,000 people live here, with a median house value being £98,695. This compares to an approximate couple’s salary of £75,334. 

Where are the most affordable places to live in Wales?

Although no towns in Wales are featured on the above list, the country still has plenty of affordable places to live.

According to Zoopla data, Ferndale is the most affordable place in Wales. Its house price-to-earnings ratio is 1.48, and the median value of a home is £96,960.

The following most affordable places to live in Wales are (in order):

  • Abertillery, with a house price to earnings ratio of 1.77
  • Mountain Ash, with a house price to earnings ratio of 1.82
  • Tonypandy, with a house price to earnings ratio of 1.88
  • Treorchy, with a house price to earnings ratio of 1.91

Most of these locations are in the southern part of the country, albeit further north than major cities like Cardiff, Newport, and Swansea.

Where are the most affordable places to live in England?

As mentioned above, the two most affordable places to live in England are in the north-east: Shildon and Peterlee.

Most – but not all – of the other affordable places are also in the North East.

  • Ashington has a median house value of £93,800, which compares to a typical couple’s combined income of £69,612.
  • Stanley, which has a median property value of £89,230.

And outside of the north-east:

  • Birkenhead (in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, Merseyside) in the northwest of England is highly affordable
  • Workington (in Cumberland) has a house price to earnings ratio of 1.67, making it worthy of consideration, too

What is the best time of year to move house?

The best time of year to move house in the UK is usually during the Spring (i.e., March, April and May).

The UK housing market is typically relatively quiet during the summer and Christmas holidays.

Where are the cheapest places to live in London?

Whilst overall it is generally expensive, some parts of London are more affordable than others.

According to Zoopla data, the cheapest locations in England’s capital are:

  • Croydon
  • Greenwich
  • Tower Hamlets

Barking, Bexley, and Havering also rank as some of the less expensive areas.

(Remember that these figures can vary slightly for the rental market).

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