Salary vs. Square Metre - Which UK cities charge the most per square metre?

Around the UK, house prices have increased by 0.2% in the last year, so we want to look into exactly which cities across Britain are the most expensive to buy a home in, looking at the average price per square metre.

 

Using government data for the UK’s biggest cities, we will explore the average square metre costs for residential properties, revealing which locations offer the most space on average. 

 

We'll review the average cost per square metre in these locations to show which areas are the most costly and which are the most affordable. In addition, this research will look at average salaries by area to calculate how affordable the property market is for each city’s residents, and where you get the most space for your money.

 

The Most Expensive Cities to Buy per Square Metre 

The Most Expensive Cities to Buy per Square Metre - In the UK - Hiatt Hardware

London Residents Spend a THIRD of Their Wages on their Home Space



  • London

Percentage of Wage per Square Meter to buy a City Centre Apartment: 34.70%

People living in London spend the highest proportion of their annual income on home space in the UK, with a third of their spending going towards each square metre (34.70%). 

The area where your money will get you the least floor space for your money is central London, with an average cost of almost £14,000 per square metre! The average house cost in the city is around £800,000, despite having the smallest houses in the country and a median floor space of 84m² square metres, according to GOV.UK.

 

  • Oxford

Percentage of Wage per Square Meter to buy a City Centre Apartment: 27.28%

Oxford ranks second, with the average house costing just over £500,000, at £9,036 per square metre. Residents earn an average annual salary of £33,126 and will spend 27.28% of their wage to buy one square metre of an apartment in the city of Oxford.

 

  • Croydon

Percentage of Wage per Square Meter to buy a City Centre Apartment: 26.14%

Croydon (in South London) ranked third, with an average house cost of £429,230 and a £5,555 cost per square metre. Croydon residents earn around £21,250 per year, on average, and could spend just over a quarter (26.28%) of their wage to buy one square metre of an apartment in the area. 

 

  • Gloucester

Percentage of Wage per Square Meter to buy a City Centre Apartment: 25.54%

The city of Gloucester placed fourth, with an average house price of £268,356, costing £4,750 per square metre. People in Gloucester spend a quarter (25.54%) of their salary on just one square meter of space. The average annual salary in Gloucester is lower than others in our top five, at £18,600.

 

  • City of Westminster

Percentage of Wage per Square Meter to buy a City Centre Apartment: 24.27%

The city of Westminster ranked in fifth place, with an average house price of £1.2 million, costing £8,300 per square metre. Westminster is within the top 5% of the most expensive cities in the world, so residents receive a higher living wage of around £34,200 annually. Just under a quarter (24.27%) of their annual salary goes towards a single square meter of space.

 

The Cheapest Cities to Buy per Square Metre 

Stoke-on-Trent is the Cheapest City in the UK for Living Space


 

  • Stoke-on-Trent

Percentage of Wage per Square Meter to buy a City Centre Apartment: 4.11%

Stoke-on-Trent offers the most bang for your buck regarding living space, with a single square meter costing around £900, just 4.11% of average annual earnings in the area per square metre for a city centre apartment. Stoke-on-Trent is one of the more affordable places to live in the UK. The average house price in Stoke is around £153,816 but still sets residents back around seven times their annual salary. This is a considerably better situation than in many other cities, given the average house price is nearly nine times the average household income.

 

  • Wolverhampton

Percentage of Wage per Square Meter to buy a City Centre Apartment: 5.22%

Wolverhampton ranked second for the cheapest cities, as most residents spend 5.22% of their yearly salary on living space. The average sold price for a property in Wolverhampton in the last 12 months is £222,927, and prices for a city centre apartment are estimated at £1,273 per square metre.

 

  • Newport

Percentage of Wage per Square Meter to buy a City Centre Apartment: 5.98%

Newport placed third in the rankings, with an average house price of £254,071, costing £1,500 per square metre. Newport residents spend almost 6% of their salary per square meter. The average annual salary is also slightly higher than others in our top three cheapest cities (£25,075 annually).

 

  • Peterborough

Percentage of Wage per Square Meter to buy a City Centre Apartment: 6.80%

Peterborough came fourth place, and Numbeo estimates show that the cost of living in Peterborough is 21.1% cheaper than in London. People living in Peterborough spend approximately 6.80% of their living wage per square meter, but the average annual salary is typically higher than other Eastern England cities (Luton at £23,862 and Ipswich residents earning £22,916) at £26,240 per annum.

 

  • Bradford

Percentage of Wage per Square Meter to buy a City Centre Apartment: 7.24%

Bradford, West Yorkshire, is the fifth cheapest for living space and has an average house price of £465,157, costing £1,650 per square metre. People living in Bradford spend 7.24% of their annual income on apartment space. The average annual income for Bradford residents is £22,800, which is rather low compared to its neighbouring city of Leeds at £28,507, but apartments are pricier, costing £4,750 per square metre in Leeds.

 

Looking to Upgrade Your Living Space?

If you want to improve your home with DIY upgraded interior features such as new door handles, or if simply looking to add some locks and security features to ensure you and your family feel safe, there are plenty of options to make the most of your home spaces this winter.

 

Methodology

We began by making a list of the top 50 most populated cities in the UK from Numbeo.

Then, we took each city’s average monthly salary (after taxes) from Numbeo. We also collected the price per square metre to buy an apartment in the city centre from each city’s page on Numbeo. This data is correct as of 13/11/2023.

We calculated the average annual wage in each city by multiplying the monthly salary by 12. Then, the price per square metre was divided by the annual salary to determine the percentage of annual wages spent on living space.