Study reveals the most expensive UK cities to raise a family in 2024

by | May 27, 2024

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Analysing factors such as house prices and the cost of childcare, Shepherds Friendly has revealed the most affordable UK cities to raise a family in 2024.

  • Peterborough is the most affordable place to raise a family in the UK, with childcare costs among the lowest in the country at £700 per month on average
  • London is the most expensive place for parents in the UK, followed by Cambridge and Brighton
  • Experts share top tips for parents to encourage children to save money and learn about money management

As many as 70% of Brits with young children say it’s harder to be a parent since the cost of living crisis. But, which UK cities are the most affordable for families to settle in 2024?

New research from Shepherds Friendly has analysed 40 of the most popular cities across the country to determine which are the best for raising a family. The research has ranked the locations based on: property prices, the cost of rent, utilities, and childcare, as well as the average monthly salary and the happiness levels in each city. 

 
 

The full research can be viewed here: https://www.shepherdsfriendly.co.uk/resources/affordable-cities-for-families/

Peterborough is the most affordable place to raise a family in the UK, with childcare costs among the lowest in the country at £700 per month on average

RankCityCost of renting a 3-bed home (per month)Cost of purchasing a propertyCost of utilities (per month)Cost of childcare (per month)Avg. gross salary (per year)Happiness score (out of 10)
1Peterborough£992£235,000£160£700£32,9417.3
2Belfast£985£161,974£126£942£31,0347.3
3Newcastle upon Tyne£988£182,500£257£850£32,5187.5
4Sunderland£725£134,000£220£850£29,3597.3
5Dundee£875£128,250£186£1,050£29,9977.4
6Kingston upon Hull£685£131,000£208£1,038£28,8707.4
7Bradford£833£160,000£220£856£31,1537.2
8Gloucester£750£245,000£272£800£31,4757.4
9Glasgow£1,225£150,125£280£867£34,3817.2
10Leeds£1,150£230,000£220£1,164£33,9467.5

The most affordable city to raise a family in the UK is Peterborough. Average property prices are relatively high in the city at around £235,000, but the cost of utilities in Peterborough is as low as £160 per month, and monthly childcare is just £700 — the second lowest price across the UK. 

 
 

In second place is Belfast. Property prices are much lower here than in Peterborough, averaging £161,974 and residents enjoy the cheapest utilities of all cities in the study (£126 per month on average). 

Newcastle has ranked in third.  It’s home to the happiest residents in the top five, with those living in Newcastle recording a high happiness score of 7.5 out of 10. 

London is the most expensive place for parents in the UK, followed by Cambridge and Brighton

 
 
RankCityCost of renting a 3-bed home (per month)Cost of purchasing a propertyCost of utilities (per month)Cost of childcare (per month)Avg. gross salary (per year)Happiness score (out of 10)
1London£2,805£584,459£277£1,829£41,8537.4
2Cambridge£1,738£492,750£217£1,552£40,9146.5
3Brighton£1,933£439,750£281£1,600£34,7417.4
4Leicester£1,225£230,000£526£614£28,3907.4
5Manchester£1,233£231,000£259£1,235£32,5077.0
6Bristol£1,575£347,999£233£1,333£35,6857.3
7Nottingham£1,060£185,000£252£1,283£28,3577.2
8Oxford£1,772£450,000£282£1,313£37,6177.8
9Southampton£1,150£260,000£281£1,167£33,1017.2
10Derby£1,000£195,000£335£1,425£32,9777.4

London ranks as the least affordable place to raise a family. The capital city has the highest rent of all locations in the study, at £2,805 per month for a three-bed flat, and it also has the most expensive property prices, averaging £584,459. Childcare is also around £1,829 per month — 2.5 times that of Peterborough. 

While the average income in London is as much as £41,853, this is only 1.2 times more than in Peterborough, so these higher costs perhaps aren’t fully balanced out by better wages. 

In second place is Cambridge. The city has the second highest house prices of all locations in the study, with costs averaging £492,750, plus expensive rent (£1,738) and childcare (£1,552). 

 
 

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