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Is It Cheaper to Live in Manchester or London

Is It Cheaper to Live in Manchester or London?

When choosing which city to live in, Manchester and London are always neck and neck. Considering both have their ups and downs, here’s what you need to know If you’re ever choosing between them.

Is it cheaper to live in Manchester or London?

Manchester is cheaper to live in since it has a lower cost of living than London, according to a study.

Expatistan compared the living costs in Manchester with London across five categories: food, clothing, transportation, personal care, and entertainment. Manchester was concluded to be 31% cheaper.

What makes Manchester cheaper than London?

What makes Manchester cheaper than London

It’s common for people to compare London with Manchester, the UK’s second city, because of the region’s north-south divide.

Different marketplaces, prices, job prospects, and transportation options are only some of how the two cities differ culturally, socially, and economically.

Compared to London, which has held this title for quite some time, Manchester is now starting to assert itself as a serious contender on the international stage. 

As time passes, more and more people will realise that Manchester is a terrific place to live, work, and play because of its numerous positive attributes and amenities.

Among the many northern cities attracting residents and businesses, Manchester stands out.

Let’s examine the similarities and differences between Manchester and London with regard to real estate investments, economy, jobs, population growth, and housing.

Rent & House Prices



London is not exactly a budget-friendly metropolis. Quite the opposite, in fact! Compared to other European cities, its high cost of living puts it in the top tier.

Without rent, a monthly budget of 2,993.07£ is anticipated for a household of four in the city.

That means you’ll need £36,000 a year to pay for basic living expenses like food, transportation, and entertainment before considering the rent.

It’s predicted that a single person will need to spend £845.13 per month on average, not including rent.

Many Londoners opt for a particular flatshare system or student-style housing for this reason as well.

The typical costly area is in North London. The sort of neighbourhood where famous people like Madonna, Jamie Oliver, Terry Gilliam, and the late George Michael all resided close to one another.



Manchester is far more reasonably priced than its southern cousin London, with the latter having a cost of living that is 45% higher.

Rent prices aside, a family of four can expect monthly expenses of around £2,325.28.

Manchester’s rent is, on average, 54.26% less than London’s. As a result, Manchester is the more cost-effective option of the two cities.

Manchester has a little lower cost of living. Still, thanks to the tram system, many people can now afford to live within the city’s outskirts without spending too much time in the car. As a result, many areas of Manchester and Salford are incredibly affordable.

Population Growth & Property Demand

Population Growth & Property Demand

Recently, Manchester has been home to the biggest proportion of population growth outside of London. Manchester’s population is expected to grow to over 635k by 2025, according to the city council’s State of the City report.

Nine million people call London their home. However, the population growth rate in the nation’s capital is at its lowest point in 15 years. The result is a standstill in the growth of the housing market.

In contrast, demand for property in Manchester continues to expand as the city’s property market moves from strength to strength.

As the city’s population is likely to increase, Manchester is set for greater growth and investment to meet the ever-growing demand from owner-occupiers, tenants and investors.

London and Manchester are known as the best cities for buy-to-let because they are both excellent places to invest in property.

Many investors have avoided the capital because of its high property prices. Still, prices are going down, making it more appealing than before.

But the average price of a home in Manchester is only a third of a home in London. The city in the north has lower prices to get in, and it also has higher rental yields.

Since prices are expected to go up in Manchester, homebuyers and investors should benefit from capital appreciation over the next few years.

A lower cost of living is another thing that works in Manchester’s favour. Expatistan says that the average cost of living in Manchester is 28% less than in London.

This means that the northwestern city’s food, clothes, transportation, and entertainment cost less.

Economy & Employment Opportunities

Economy & Employment Opportunities

London’s metro area is one of Europe’s most significant economies. However, Manchester’s economy has risen two times faster than London’s since the launch of the Government’s Northern Powerhouse program in 2014.

The northern city’s economy is rising at a higher rate than others within the UK, and job levels are predicted to increase significantly.

Many firms are shifting to the North of England and especially Greater Manchester. TalkTalk, ITV, M&S and BBC have their headquarters or a large proportion of their operations in Salford.

Manchester has even been dubbed the fastest-rising tech city in Europe. Many start-ups are turning to this northern city region as office spaces are significantly cheaper too.

With a healthy job market in Manchester, more than half of the students from the city’s four leading institutions are choosing to stay put after graduation.

The city even has the highest graduate retention rate outside of London. Furthermore, with the increase of employment agencies in the area, this is expected to expand much more.

Common Areas and Walkability

Common Areas and Walkability

London’s public transit system has long outstripped the rest of the UK. However, transportation infrastructure is being upgraded in Manchester and throughout the Northern Powerhouse.

Moreover, compared to London, transportation in Manchester is less expensive. Connections for cyclists and pedestrians are also being enhanced all across the city.

There will be improved links within the city, the region, and the rest of the UK thanks to planned improvements to the city’s already extensive rail network.

Manchester is exceptionally well linked, thanks mainly to its proximity to the UK’s second-busiest airport (behind London’s).

Furthermore, apartments within Manchester also have their own links for better accessibility within the city.

Costs of Living Comparison between Manchester and London

Cost of living one person£1559£2438
Cost of living Family£4047£5800
Solo Renting£909£1491
Family Renting£1863£2625
Food expenses£380£421
Transport expenses£139£362
Average Monthly Salary after Tax£2370£3145

Life in London is 56% more expensive than in Manchester. Among the world’s most costly places, these two British cities come in at positions 65 and 2066, respectively, with respective median annual costs of £2438 and £1559.

In London, a month’s expenses may be covered by the typical after-tax earnings. This means the ratio is one month of earnings to one month’s expenses. However, in Manchester, that number rises to 1.5.

That said, to keep up the same standard of living that you can enjoy for £5,100.00 in London, you would need around £3,562.19. (assuming you rent in both cities).

Property Prices

Property Prices

You may expect to pay about £1,652 per month for a one-bedroom apartment in central London.

In Manchester, the price of a home like this one (or one very similar) would be roughly £681. To put it in perspective, Manchester real estate is around half the price of its London equivalent.

To recap, here’s a quick table summary of the differences in the costs regarding property prices.

Buy PropertyManchesterLondonDifference in Percentage
Price per Square Metre to Buy Apartment in City Centre£ 3,907.39£12,025.21  -67.51 %
Price per Square Metre to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre£ 2,569.71£ 7,104.87 -63.83 %

Gathered data as of December 2022

Renting PropertyManchesterLondonDifference in Percentage
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre£ 924.40 £ 1,962.79 -52.90 %
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre£ 676.20 ££ 1,435.43-52.89 %
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre£ 1,746.67£ 3,322.29-47.43 %
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre£ 1,061.36£ 2,360.67-55.04 %

Gathered data as of December 2022

Utilities (Monthly)ManchesterLondonDifference in Percentage
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment£ 207.69£ 250.05-16.94 %
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans)£ 0.10£ 0.11-11.75 %
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)£ 27.67£ 29.13-5.04 %



Many of us base our decisions on salary when selecting a new community or location to call home. As a result, it’s no surprise that so many people settle in and around the country’s capital.

It’s also worth noting that salaries decrease as one moves further away from the capital. London has a higher average wage than Manchester by almost 30%.

Salaries And FinancingManchesterLondonDifference in Percentage
Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax)£ 2,275.76£ 3,219.04-29.30 %
Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate2.98 %3.01 %+1.18 %



Taxi fares tend to be somewhat comparable. On the other hand, public transportation is quite different.

In London, a monthly season ticket to use the tube and trams would set you back over £130, but in Manchester, it will only set you back about £54.

TransportationManchesterLondonDifference in Percentage
One-way Ticket (Local Transport)£ 2.50 £ 2.60-3.85 %
Monthly Pass (Regular Price)£ 70.00£ 150.00-53.33 %
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)£ 2.30£ 4.00-42.50 %
Taxi 1 hour Waiting (Normal Tariff)£ 18.60£ 28.80-35.42 %
Gasoline (1 litre)£ 1.64£ 1.76-6.72 %

Social Life and Entertainment

Social Life and Entertainment

Manchester is known for its affordable prices, including gym membership, fitness centres, movie theatres, bars and unique restaurants. 

Here’s a list of tables for comparison.

RestaurantsManchesterLondonDifference in Percentage
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant£ 15.00 £ 15.000.00 %
Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course Meal£ 60.00£ 68.00-11.76 %
McMeal at McDonald’s (or Equivalent Combo Meal)£ 6.00£ 7.00-14.29 %
Domestic Beer (0.5-litre draught)£ 4.50£ 6.00  -25.00 %
Imported Beer (0.33-litre bottle)£ 4.75£ 5.00-5.00 %
Cappuccino (regular)£ 3.10£ 3.36  -7.61 %
Coke/Pepsi (0.33-litre bottle)£ 1.74£ 1.72+0.85 %
Water (0.33-litre bottle)£ 1.29£ 1.38-5.89 %
Market PricingManchesterLondonDifference in Percentage
Milk (regular), (1 litre)£ 1.07£ 1.11-3.66 %
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)£ 1.10£ 1.03+7.16 %
Rice (white), (1kg)£ 1.65£ 1.74-5.17 %
Eggs (regular) (12)£ 2.35£ 2.37-0.71 %
Local Cheese (1kg)£ 6.08£ 6.36-4.42 %
Chicken Fillets (1kg)£ 5.88£ 6.66-11.70 %
Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat)£ 8.33£ 10.02-16.93 %
Apples (1kg)£ 1.93£ 2.03-4.67 %
Banana (1kg)£ 1.37£ 1.23+11.38 %
Oranges (1kg)£ 1.95£ 1.83+6.55 %
Tomato (1kg)£ 1.46£ 2.37-38.30 %
Potato (1kg)£ 1.24£ 1.06+17.13 %
Onion (1kg)£ 1.15£ 1.16-0.32 %
Lettuce (1 head)£ 0.70£ 0.85-17.90 %
Water (1.5 litre bottle)£ 1.14£ 1.12+2.00 %
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)£ 7.50£ 9.00-16.67 %
Domestic Beer (0.5 litre bottle)£ 1.70£ 1.95-12.42 %
Imported Beer (0.33 litre bottle)£ 2.89£ 2.36+22.65 %
Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro)£ 12.12£ 13.00-6.73 %
Clothing and Shoes PricingManchesterLondonDifference in Percentage
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar)67.68 £73.17 £-7.50 %
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …)28.24 £33.21 £-14.99 %
1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range)74.69 £62.63 £-16.14 %
1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes67.19 £86.97 £-22.75 %

Comparatively, gym membership in London will set you back £60 a month. But in Manchester, it will just set you back roughly £30. 

One thing to note, though, is that every city worth its salt will contain at least a few of those modestly priced fitness centres.

Here’s a comparative list of gym memberships for Manchester and London:

Sports And Leisure PricingManchesterLondonDifference in Percentage
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult£ 26.24£ 43.85-40.16 %
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend)£ 9.14£ 11.93-23.33 %
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat£ 9.25£ 12.00-22.92 %

Furthermore, here’s a rundown of the differences in the costs of living between Manchester and London.

  • Consumer Prices in Manchester are 14.22% lower than in London (without rent)
  • Consumer Prices, Including Rent in Manchester, are 30.70% lower than in London
  • Rent Prices in Manchester are 51.55% lower than in London
  • Restaurant Prices in Manchester are 7.48% lower than in London
  • Groceries Prices in Manchester are 7.35% lower than in London
  • Local Purchasing Power in Manchester is 2.01% higher than in London

Our Final Thoughts

British cities, London and Manchester, share a reputation for being cultural meccas. While London has always been known for its plethora of employment and cultural options, Manchester’s lower cost of living and robust job market are significant pluses.

As a result, Manchester is quickly becoming a serious candidate for the title of “best city in the UK to relocate to.”

No matter your final destination, we hope this article helped you narrow down your options.

FAQs about Manchester and London’s Living Comparison

With any luck, we hope you’ve learned something from this post about how Manchester’s living expenses compare to those of London.

Check out these articles for more information about why you should make Manchester your new home:

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