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How Much Can Renters Save By Moving to the Suburbs?

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Recent data suggests that we’re likely to see more and more people moving out of cities. This has largely been sparked by lockdown and the fact that, for many of us, remote working is the new norm. 

With the need to commute taken away, it’s little wonder more and more of us are moving further out.

Unsurprisingly, this can help tenants save money. But, how much exactly? Let’s take a look. 

Country living: a shift in priorities? 

Will city living be swapped for the countryside? Here’s what the data says:

  1. Searches for ‘moving to the country’ increased by 29% over the course of 2020 
  2. According to a YouGov survey, most workers want to work from home even after COVID-19, at least some of the time:
    1. 18% want to work from home full time
    2. 39% want to work from home most of the time
  3. The pandemic has changed people’s priorities; the best towns for working from home reflect what factors movers consider, including plenty of parks and green spaces 
  4. Another property survey also revealed:
    1. 49% expect increased home working to continue post lockdown
    2. 71% of younger home buyers crave more outdoor space and rural locations
    3. 40% of respondents more likely to choose a village location
    4. 1 in 6 are ready for a longer commute                                                                   

How much money could rural life save renters? 

Thinkmoney analysed the average rent of 23 city centre locations compared to nearby suburbs. 

How much (on average) could Brits save by moving out of the city?

Average rent (city centre)Average rent (nearby, best rated suburb) Monthly savingsAnnual savings
£1,087£862£225£2,700

What does this mean for city life?

The average rent of UK cities is £1,087. This equals over half (53%) of the average monthly income, which is £2,023. 

However, Brits could put around £225 in their pockets each month if they were to move just 4.6 miles out of the city. This adds up to an average of £2,700 saved each year.

Infographic displaying how much money Brits can save on rent moving to the suburbs

How much could renters save over their full tenancy? 

Tenants stay an average of 4 years in their rental properties. This can be even longer in some cases. 

Renting in a city for four years would cost an average of £52,176, which is more than a fifth of the average house price in Britain, which is £235,000. This is compared to £41,376 in rent in a suburb or the countryside. 

This means that, by moving less than 5 miles away, renters could save around £10,800. 

Plus, this doesn’t take into account that (on average) the cost of living is higher for city dwellers. For example, London, Bristol and Manchester carry a much heftier price tag than the likes of Sheffield and Cardiff.  You certainly won’t find the capital in the list of cheapest places to rent!

Moving out of a town centre could help you save for a deposit

These savings could be used to save for a house deposit. For a home that costs £232,000, a 5% deposit in the UK is £11,600. It’s evident that it would be much quicker to save if you live in the countryside. 

However, it’s recommended to save as high a deposit as you can. It can help you find a better mortgage deal, with lower interest rates. Plus, 95% mortgages are becoming increasingly difficult to secure due to the pandemic, as banks have pulled their riskier loans.

Where can you save the most?

Country life has a number of benefits, including ample green spaces – great for more than just social distancing. 

But, where can you save the most money in the UK? Let’s look at the top 10 suburbs which are cheaper for renters.

City/townAverage rent (city centre)Nearby suburbAverage rent (suburb)Monthly rent saving
1London£4,302Welwyn Garden City£1,085£3,217
2Leeds£1,285Hosforth£826£459
3Manchester£1,194Sale£808£386
4Bristol£1,370Totterdown£1,078£292
5Birmingham£1,030Moseley£768£262
6Nottingham£1,116West Bridgford£873£243
7Leicester£933Oadby£726£207
8Reading£1,162Earley£1,041£121
9Liverpool£915Crosby£799£116
10Coventry£970Earlsdon£884£86

Renters could save £3,217 a month if they moved from London

London’s city centre is considered the W1 postcode. Along with the nightlife, attractions and landmarks, you can also find an average rent of £4,302 a month. 

Just north of London is Welwyn Garden City, only half an hour away on the train. Here, renters could save £3,217 a month or £38,604 a year. This Hertfordshire town sits only 20 miles from Kings Cross.

Despite being a suburb, Welwyn Garden City has a lot going for it in its own right, aside from being close to London. It’s known for its football team, green spaces, pretty neo-Georgian cottages and shopping destinations. Many describe it as a ‘garden city’, ideal if you want the best of both worlds.

How much could you save in rent outside of Leeds?

While many of us are aware that if you live in a city, your rent will likely be higher than if you lived further out. However, many are still in the dark about just how much they could save. 

Horsforth is another best-rated location to live that’s near the city, only 25 minutes from Leeds. Even though it’s just down the road, in Horsforth, monthly rent drops by £459 each month, or £5,508 a year compared to Leeds’ city centre.

Known for it’s good village schools, quirky coffee shops and green spaces – in Horsforth, you can commute into Leeds in less than half an hour. It’s also a great place to live if you enjoy spending time in the great outdoors.

Infographic displaying rent prices of major cities compared to suburbs

Advice for moving to a suburb

So, city living or home buying, which is more important to you?

For some, it’s the latter. However, bear in mind that if buying is your goal, suburbs aren’t always cheaper than cities when it comes to property prices. The thinkmoney survey also revealed that in some cases, homeowners end up paying 9% more to live just outside of cities. 

For example, in Sheffield the average property price is £137,969. However, in the nearby suburb of Fulwood, it’s £349,312. This is an increase of £211,062. 

The story is the same in Nottingham, where the average house price is £177,100 while further out in West Bridgford it’s £349,031. This adds up to an increase of £204,397.

Tip: always do thorough research into an area, its property prices and local amenities.

Infographic displaying house prices in suburbs compared to cities

How to save for a deposit 

How much you’ll need for a deposit varies. But, if buying a property is on your radar, it’s not just moving to a suburb that will help you save, some other tips include:

  • Setting a monthly budget – the Canopy App can help with its budgeting tool
  • Consider subletting 
  • Making money-savvy swaps (e.g. own-brand items)
  • Downsizing your property
  • Have a goal in mind, such as the average deposit needed to buy in your favourite area
  • Work out your expenses
  • Switching energy supplier, it could help you save

As a tenant, you have the right to choose your energy provider! Want to choose one backed by 100% renewable energy? Make the switch below.

Switch Energy Supplier

Last Updated: August 6th, 2021

Phil Spencer

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