Why Are Houses So Cheap in Sheffield?

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<strong>Why Are Houses So Cheap in Sheffield?</strong>
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We’ve all heard the saying that the North is cheaper than the South. And historically there is plenty of truth to it. Houses, consumer goods and professional services are just a few things that are proven to be cheaper in parts of the North. 

But what about Sheffield? Keep reading to learn about what makes Sheffield such a cheap city to live in. 

Overview of Sheffield’s history as an affordable city

To understand why the North is generally cheaper than the South, we have to look at the North’s rich industrial history.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, burgeoning industries like textiles, coal mining and shipbuilding caused massive changes to the rural landscapes. Towns like Leeds, Newcastle and Manchester blossomed to support these industries. 

Because there were so many new jobs, these towns became the homes of a huge working-class population. Of course, the working conditions were far from easy. But in general, people started to experience a higher quality of life thanks to urbanisation and technological advancement that was afforded by the new economy. In Sheffield, the population multiplied by 10 from 1800 to the mid-1900s.

The industrial revolution came to shape the North’s identity. But things began to change in the early 20th century when many of the big industries declined. Competition from abroad and changes to markets and economies are just a few things that played a role in this. And the consequences were massive. Factories closed, and manufacturers relocated. There were fewer stable jobs available in this difficult period, and many communities experienced poverty. Cities like Sheffield had to reinvent themselves.

It took some time, but today Sheffield is one of the success stories of the post-industrial North. While it’s still affectionately referred to as the Steel City, it has long since outgrown its industrial roots. A quintessential example of the spirit and resilience associated with Northern England, Sheffield has diversified its economy and firmly positioned itself as one of the best places to live in England. 

Since the collapse of its traditional industries, Sheffield has become a hotbed of advanced manufacturing, technology and healthcare. It’s also the proud home of two highly-rated universities, The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam, causing it to constantly attract bright minds to the friendly town. The population now stands close to 600,000, making it England’s 4th largest city and the economy is worth over £11.3b.

Despite all that, it still maintains lower-than-average property prices when compared to the rest of the UK. While the national average sits at £365,357 in 2023, Sheffield is drastically lower. The average house price in Sheffield was just £235,778 over the last 12 months according to Rightmove. 

This can in part be viewed as a carryover from Sheffield’s industrial heritage. For a long time, there was a massive surplus of housing compared with cities like London which were massively in demand and saw many people migrating to them from northern areas. Now, as Sheffield has rebuilt itself, the demand is coming back to the city. But prices are still low compared to the UK average. 

Where are house prices cheap in Sheffield?

You can buy houses for cheap all over Sheffield but the areas with the lowest average house prices are generally on the north-eastern side of the city. What remains of Sheffield’s heavy industry is situated on this side and there are large numbers of terraced houses in these neighbourhoods. 

Although neighbours in this part of the city have a reputation for being lower-income areas, many of them are up-and-coming. Following the decline of its traditional industries, Sheffield has had a big effort to reduce its inequality problems. 

Areas that were once deprived are today much better off. Places like Woodthorpe, Sharrow and Darnall are just a few examples. 

Other traditional working-class areas like Hillsborough have also transformed in recent years. Now it is a hotspot for families and young professionals. Houses here had an average price of just £217,322 over the last year. Kelham Island is another great option for people looking to buy a flat. Now a trendy, forward-thinking area, average property prices in Kelham Island are only £174,282 for a flat close to the city centre. Walkley is another popular area for families with average prices falling well below the UK average at £241,840. 

Cost of living in Sheffield

When it comes to the cost of living, the difference is less pronounced than it was in the last century when virtually everything cost substantially less in the North than in the South. Globalisation has played a big part in that, with Sheffield now considered a self-sufficient global city. Income levels are also on par with the national average of  £32,500 per year.

But things like food and utilities are still a fair bit cheaper in Sheffield than in some of its southern counterparts. According to Numbeo’s cost of living database, as of 2023, consumer prices are 21.8% lower than in London. Rent prices are also 59.5% lower. Across most metrics, Sheffield is even cheaper than the likes of Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool. This includes the cost of things like transportation, groceries, eating out and utilities. 

Is Sheffield a good place to live?

So, with that all said, is Sheffield a good place to live? The answer to that is a resounding yes. 

It’s an underrated city that most people don’t realise is one of the greenest in Europe. While it may lack the excitement of Manchester, there’s still a lot going on in the city thanks to the young population that helps the social scene to keep evolving. It also has a reputation as a safe and friendly city with a strong community spirit. 

If you’re looking to start a business, it’s the place to be. Ranked as the best place to start a business in 2022, Sheffield has been a mainstay at the top of the charts for entrepreneurship. The job market is also strong across several sectors like healthcare, education, engineering, technology and digital & media. Global companies including Boeing and McLaren have set up shop in Sheffield’s famous Advanced Manufacturing Park. The Sunday Times chose it as one of the 5 best cities to live in the north, with Kelham Island identified as one of the best areas in the whole region. 

Sheffield has areas that suit all lifestyles. Young professionals can find lots of opportunities in Sheffield’s new industries. Families will find there are many quiet suburbs with great schools. Retirees will also be suited to these areas. Due to the city’s closeness to the Peak District, Sheffield is particularly well-suited to people who want an outdoor lifestyle while living close to a city. Arguably, there is no better city in the UK than Sheffield for this. 
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