(This article was last updated on Jan. 17, 2023.)
12 cheapest rural areas for buying a house in the UK – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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Table of Contents
In spite of the fact that the United Kingdom left the European Union in a formal sense at the stroke of midnight between January 31 and February 1, 2020, the economy of the UK is still one of the biggest in the world, the local currency is rather steady, and the people have a positive outlook on the future.
In addition, the number of labor migrants, foreign business people, and simply international residents who intend to settle in British territory is only expected to increase.
The population of Great Britain is in excess of 68 million people, as of Jan. 15, 2023, as cited in Worldometer, based on data from the United Nations. At the same time, more than 85% live within England. The capital London has more than 7.5 million inhabitants, which makes this city one of the largest in the European Union.
We will talk about the cost of living, taxation, occupations, salaries, education, and healthcare, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of residing in the UK in the year 2023. Then, we’ll get into the list of the cheapest rural areas for buying a house in the UK. So, let’s get started.
What are the pros and cons of living in the UK?
Glasgow is dubbed as one of the best cities to live in the UK in terms of education, environment, prices, wages, and healthcare, according to recent studies. Meanwhile, the Scottish capital of Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Birmingham, English Oxford, and UK capital London are also among the best cities to reside in the UK. However, note that every British city has both positive and negative sides for immigration and permanent residence.
Benefits of Living in the UK
- The UK has a robust economy with advanced industrial and financial sectors, which enables you to run a profitable business there and establish a lucrative professional life.
- Great Britain has a rich history and fascinating traditions, as well as interesting architecture and museums that are known all over the world. The most important competitions in sports and music are held here, and the reputation of the area’s pubs extends well outside the borders of the territory.
- The majority of people who live in the UK speak English, which is both the official language and the native tongue of most of the population. This fact makes life much simpler for visitors from other countries and those who plan to relocate.
- Infrastructure, education, and medical care are of high standard.
- Locals are courteous and tolerant.
Drawbacks of living in the UK
- The cuisine of the UK is not viewed favorably by a great number of people from other countries.
- High rates of taxation as well as the overall cost of living.
- Constant shifts in the weather.
- An extremely high cost for higher education. To give just one illustration, the annual tuition for some sub-fields of medicine can reach more than 40,000 pounds.
Prices and Cost of Living in the UK
How much do you need to live in the UK?
It can be very costly to maintain one’s standard of living in the United Kingdom, and in England specifically. Despite this, tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people immigrate to this island nation every year.
By the way, London, alongside Paris and Bangkok, is one of the three cities that receive the most tourists each year. When compared to other European cities, London receives the highest number of visitors since there are as many as 20 million tourists that visit the UK’s capital city per annum. It is one of the richest cities in Europe as well.
According to a global cost of living data aggregator called Numbeo, the price of a meal for two at a restaurant of a moderate price range can cost as much as 55 pounds, while the price of a meal at an inexpensive restaurant in the UK is estimated to be 15 pounds at the time of this writing.
In the UK, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is approximately 901 pounds, while the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in more rural areas is approximately 685 pounds. The price of real estate in the center of the city is approximately 4,336 pounds per square meter, while the price of real estate on the outskirts of the city is approximately 3,218 pounds per square meter.
If rent is not included, the overall cost of living in the UK for one individual can reach an average of approximately 699 pounds per month, while the average cost of living for a family of four can reach a total of about 2,408.5 pounds per month.
It is estimated that renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center of London will set you back approximately 2,004 pounds per month, while renting the same apartment outside of the city center will set you back roughly 1,430 pounds per month.
If you want to maintain the same standard of living that you can achieve in New York with 9,100 US dollars, you will need roughly 6,492 dollars in London.
Let’s look at some specific costs in the UK in 2023, as per Numbeo.
- Bread (500 grams) – 1.02 pounds
- Regular milk (1 liter) – 0.99 pounds
- Regular eggs (12 pcs.) – 2.07 pounds
- Chicken fillet (1 kg) – 5.66 pounds
- Potatoes (1 kg) – 1.07 pounds
- British cheese (1 kg) – 5.83 pounds
- Bananas (1 kg) – 1.10 pounds
- Apples (1 kg) – 1.91 pounds
- Gasoline (1 liter) – 1.56 pounds
- One-way ticket by public transport – 2.50 pounds
- Monthly Pass – 65.22 pounds
- Basic utilities for 85 square-meter apartment – 188.21 pounds per month
- Mobile communication – 0.12 pounds per minute
- Internet – 30.11 pounds per month
What about taxes in the UK?
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a leading provider of audit, consulting, and tax services, the normal rate of corporate tax is 19% for the financial year that started on April 1, 2022, and it will rise to 25% for the financial year commencing on April 1, 2023. These figures are accurate as of December 2022.
Furthermore, beginning April 1, 2023, businesses whose earnings do not go over 50,000 British pounds will be subject to a corporation tax rate of 19% on small profits.
In the UK, the full rate of tax, which is currently set at 30%, applies to any earnings that are realized from the extraction of oil or gas. In addition, beginning in January 2023, an Energy Profits Levy in the amount of 35% will be applied to the profits of oil and gas companies. This tax charge will remain in place until year-end 2025.
The majority of goods and services are charged a value-added tax (VAT) at the standard rate of 20%; however, supplies of fuel and electricity as well as certain other “reduced-rate supplies” are charged with VAT at a rate of 5%, PwC said.
Stamp duty land tax (SDLT) at progressive rates of up to a maximum of 5% are imposed on purchases of non-residential or mixed land and buildings in England and Northern Ireland. The 5% rate is applied to the part of the consideration that is greater than 250,000 pounds.
On the other hand, corporations and other non-natural persons buying a house in the UK, as well as individuals purchasing second homes, are subject to tax rates of 15% max. Further, a cap of 12% is imposed on acquisitions of residential property by persons who do not hold any other properties or those who are making the purchase to replace their primary residence.
Employers have a legal responsibility to make contributions to the national insurance system based on a predetermined percentage of the total earnings of every employee. For the fiscal year that will end on April 5, 2023, the tax rate will be 13.8% on all income that are higher than 184 pounds per week.
The premiums for the majority of general insurance, including those for buildings and contents as well as auto insurance, are subject to insurance premium tax at the standard rate of 12%.
Personal Income Tax
If a person has their primary home and permanent residence in the UK, they will be subject to taxation on all of their income and gains from all sources, regardless of where those sources are located.
Meanwhile, a person who is not considered to be a tax resident of the country will typically be subject to taxation on the portion of their income that comes from the UK, but they will not be subject to taxation on their capital gains. The only exception to this rule is in the case of gains made in relation to UK property, “property-rich” companies, or carried interest, according to PwC.
Since some years ago, gains on UK residential property that non-residents hold have been charged a UK capital gains tax rate of 28%. From April 2019, the UK capital gains tax was stretched to include all UK property sold by non-UK residents as well as shares in non-UK companies that are considered to be property-rich.
At this time, residents of the UK are given a tax-free allowance that is equal to 12,570 pounds. There is no tax on net worth, excise, or luxury goods in the country.
Work and salary in the UK in 2023
What kind of work are in demand?
Citizens of Poland, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic are among those who are considering searching for employment in England, along with labor migrants from the post-Soviet states.
Because there is such strong competition for jobs among Europeans and because of Brexit, only a select few highly qualified as well as in-demand specialists from other countries can anticipate to be successful in finding high-paying work in London and other major cities in the UK.
Professionals in the fields of finance, computer programming, engineering, and medicine are in highest demand in the UK. It is quite taxing to find legal employment in the field of unskilled labor because vacant positions are stuffed with workers from less developed nations within the EU, and such items do not require a special work authorization.
For instance, citizens of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Russians, as well as Ukrainians are required to identify an employer ahead of time and apply for a visa in order to enter the UK.
How much can you earn in the UK?
The risk rate in Europe is reduced by the size of wages. For example, in London, the current average salary after taxes covers about 2,970 pounds per month. Meanwhile, the salary in the UK per month sits at 2,267 pounds on average.
The National Minimum Wage in the UK is set by the government and varies based on age and apprentice status. As of 1 April, 2023, the UK minimum wage will see further increases across the board, according to the UK government.
The national living wage rate in 2022 jumped 6.6% to 9.50 pounds (per hour), while it is set to increase 9.7% to 10.42 pounds in 2023. The national living wage is a scheme designed to be higher than the minimum wage and applies to those age 23 and up.
What does higher education in the UK look like?
It is commonly acknowledged that the higher education system in the UK is one of the most well-known and prestigious on the entire globe.
For instance, according to the QS World University Rankings 2022, there are a total of 17 British universities that are ranked among the top 100 best universities in the world, and four of these universities are positioned within the top 10. The universities of Oxford and Cambridge, in addition to the illustrious Imperial College in London, are among the best in the world, as per the rankings.
If you wish to attend a university in the UK that is open to international students, you will need to complete an A-Level program. There is also the possibility of enrolling in the annual Foundation course, which was developed with the needs of international students in mind. However, this program is not recognized by all educational institutions.
The annual cost of obtaining a higher education in the United Kingdom is approximately 10,000 pounds on average.
How is healthcare in the UK?
Currently, there are 1.5 million people working in various capacities within the healthcare system in the UK. Every nation, including England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Ireland, is subject to the authority of the system.
Following the establishment of a national budget for England by the British government, various states received financial assistance in the form of grants. The total sum of money that is allocated for medical care is decided upon by legislative bodies on their own.
It is reasonable to assume that the British population has access to essentially valuable healthcare thanks to the funding provided by the government. This access encompasses primary healthcare, inpatient and outpatient care, as well as preventive and hospital services. Dentistry, optometry, and pharmaceutical services each receive a portion of their full payment.
According to the most recent data that can be obtained from the Office of National Statistics, the portion of the gross domestic product (GDP) that can be attributed to healthcare was roughly 11.9% in 2021.
In the same year, approximately 13% of individuals in the UK buy private health insurance for themselves.
In conclusion, we note that the current life expectancy for the UK in 2023 is 81.77 years; this represents an increase of 0.15% from 2022, based on data from the United Nations that was cited on Macrotrends.
Buying a house in the UK in 2023
What’s the UK property market like this year?
According to British daily newspaper The Guardian, industry experts predict that the housing market will experience a significant slowdown in 2023, following a turbulent year in 2022. This prediction comes as the United Kingdom deals with a recession and rising mortgage rates.
According to Halifax, the monthly drop in the average house price was 2.3% in November 2022 from October. This was the largest monthly drop in average house price since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008.
As interest rates are about to go up and the United Kingdom is about to enter a protracted recession, it is anticipated that the stagnation will become even more severe. All of the housing indicators are currently displaying a red warning light, the Guardian said.
It is anticipated that the Bank of England will keep on increasing interest rates through the year 2023, taking them from their 2022 level of 3.5% to a maximum of roughly 4.75%, which will further reduce the demand from purchasers.
According to those who specialize in real estate, this will most likely result in a decrease in property prices of between 5% and 12% in 2023; however, some experts argue that in the worst possible situation, prices could plummet by 15% to 20%.
Real estate company Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) is predicting a 6% decline in house prices over the course of 2023, despite the fact that plunges in house prices have been uncommon in the United Kingdom. As a result of interest rates falling back and inflation being held in check, both JLL and fellow real estate firm Savills project a rebound to 1% price rise in 2024.
Because of a program called the right-to-buy that was initiated in the 1980s, the percentage of people who owned their own homes in the UK increased toward the latter half of the 20th century. Under this program, residents of a particular municipality were offered the chance to purchase their homes at a reduced price.
The recent years have witnessed an increase in the median age of first-time purchasers, which can be attributed, in large part, to the rise in the cost of housing. According to a 2018 study of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, there has been a significant reduction in the number of young people who own their own homes over the course of the past 20 years.
There are no legal limitations placed on the ability of foreign nationals to acquire property in the UK. Mortgages can also be obtained in the UK by non-residents and foreign nationals who do not live there. Those who have lived in the UK for less than two years and are currently without employment may be subject to additional requirements as well as a larger initial deposit.
Let’s take a look at the most cost-effective ways for buying a house in the UK so that you can get more information about this topic.
When compared to the prices of homes available in rural areas, it is common knowledge that the cost of purchasing a home in a city is significantly higher. Because of this, in the following paragraphs, we will provide a list of the 12 rural areas in the UK that have the lowest average house prices and where it may be possible for you to purchase a home.
In a broader sense, the rural area, also known as the countryside, refers to the geographical region that lies outside of cities and towns. The countryside of the UK is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful areas in all of Europe. It is therefore not surprising that a large number of people have the desire to make this their permanent residence.
Many attractive locations in the UK may be located in highly priced neighborhoods, but do remember that there are alternate options available that are less expensive.
Below you can find the 12 cheapest rural areas for buying a house in the UK in 2023, plus an overview on what to expect from each location. By cheap, we mean that the average property price is lower than the national average, which stood at around 296,000 pounds in 2022.
Note that the average property prices are the most current based on data available in 2022. Some of the cities specified will have costs for 2023 as well.
Cheapest Rural Areas for Buying a House in the UK: Western Isles, Scotland — £122,500
The Outer Hebrides, also known as the Western Isles, form a 130-mile archipelago of about 200 islands. Of these islands, only a few are inhabited – the current population is just under 27,000.
If you want to be one of those residents, be prepared to pay about 122,500 pounds for a house. You may need to brush up on your Gaelic, though as a lot of the population are fluent in the language.
The islands receive about 219,000 visitors a year, meaning that tourism is a major industry in the Western Isles. Fans of fishing, weaving and farming will be happy to know that all three crafts are highly valued in the Western Isles.
Cheapest Rural Areas for Buying a House in the UK: County Durham, North East — £157,244
The most affordable homes in County Durham are townhouses. You can expect to pay less than 108,000 pounds for a County Durham terraced property. Overall, property prices in this part of the UK went over 157,000 pounds on average in 2022.
The only county in England to have the prefix county in its name, County Durham includes UNESCO World Heritage Sites, vast countryside and the third-oldest university in England.
Darlington is the largest borough in County Durham, but Durham City is the borough’s official city. There are also many market towns and villages that have a history of famine, railroad industry and mining.
Cheapest Rural Areas for Buying a House in the UK: East Ayrshire, Scotland — £174,767
East Ayrshire borders Dumfries and Gallows and is made up of several towns and villages, including Kilmarnock. However, many villages will appeal to those who want to live in the countryside.
Part of uncharted Scotland, Cumnock is one of the rural villages in East Ayrshire. Property prices on average stood at 146,865 pounds in 2022 in Cumnock. It has a strong Victorian feel to it with its many vintage properties.
Other popular villages include Stewarton and Darvel, where the average property prices are 194,241 pounds as well as 142,344 pounds, respectively. Looking for a home in East Ayrshire will cost an average of under 174,800 pounds, making it one of the cheapest rural areas for buying a house in the UK.
Cheapest Rural Areas for Buying a House in the UK: Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland — £177,033
Dumfries and Galloway is famous for its cultural heritage, dominating cliffs and wild scenery. In fact, many have gone so far as to describe it as “Scotland in miniature.”
Part of Dumfries and Galloway is designated a “biosphere reserve” by UNESCO after being recognized for its outstanding natural landscapes.
Those considering becoming a Dumfries and Galloway resident will be able to claim the UK’s only Dark Sky Park, which is an open space with exceptionally dark night skies due to the absence of pollution.
Dumfries and Galloway is one of the cheapest areas for buying a house in the UK with an overall average property price of 177,033 pounds in 2022. Terraced properties can fetch for under 123,000 pounds on average.
Cheapest Rural Areas for Buying a House in the UK: Shetland, Scotland — £179,618
Formerly known as Zetland, the Shetland Islands are a small number of scattered islands in Scotland. Lerwick is the capital of Shetland, where the average price is a bit higher at more than 194,000 pounds. The town offers a lifestyle more similar to the UK mainland but retains an island feel.
Lerwick is the only town in Shetland with an Old Quay where you can ride pleasure boats, visiting yachts, and work fishing boats. Most of the buildings date back to the 18th century, which is handy if you’re into vintage real estate.
Lerwick’s New Town area has villas and public parks, as well as movie theaters and a state-of-the-art entertainment center.
Those looking for island life right here in the UK will be able to pick up a Shetland home for under 180,000 pounds.
Cheapest Rural Areas for Buying a House in the UK: Copeland, North West — £183,898
Cumbria is back on our list and Copeland has proven to be one of the cheapest rural areas for buying a house in the UK. Copeland, located in the Western Lake District, offers plenty of countryside pleasures.
If you’re thinking about moving to Copeland, expect to find quiet sandy beaches, sprawling valleys, and picturesque rivers and lakes, not to mention a few mountains. In fact, the area is home to Scafell Pike and Wastwater, the highest mountain and the deepest lake in England, respectively.
The average cost of a property in Copeland is under 184,000 pounds. Terraced and semi-detached properties in this part of the UK can sell for 121,728 pounds and 167,060 pounds, respectively.
Cheapest Rural Areas for Buying a House in the UK: Allerdale, North West — £186,337
Allerdale is a district of Cumbria in the northwest of England. Cockermouth is arguably the most rural area of Allerdale, with an average property value of 235,594 pounds in 2022.
The town of Cockermouth, with a population of around 9,000, hosts the Cockermouth Rock Festival – the perfect place for rock lovers!
Another rural towns in Allerdale, Wigton and Workington, are significantly cheaper than Cockermouth, with respective property prices averaging 178,284 pounds and 142,576 pounds, well below the national average.
The historic market town of Wigton is only 10 miles from the Carlis border and nine miles north of the scenic Lake District.
If you are thinking about moving to Allerdale, expect to pay an average of 186,337
pounds for a property. Specifically, a terraced property can sell for an average of 122,758 pounds.
Cheapest Rural Areas for Buying a House in the UK: Wyre, North West — £187,615
Wyre is also of the cheapest rural areas for buying a house in the UK. The Lancashire area, named after the River Wyre, offers apartments for an average of about 189,000 pounds. For Wyre in particular, property prices stood at an average 187,615 pounds in 2022.
Those who wish to call Wyre home will have access to many of Lancashire’s rural delights. The Yorkshire Dales and National Park and the charming castles of Lancaster are within a 30-mile radius. Blackpool Fun Beach is also nearby if you want to mix things up a bit.
Getting the best deal for a home is important, and knowing average home prices will help you find an affordable place to live while enjoying the countryside.
Cheapest Rural Areas for Buying a House in the UK: Lancashire, North West — £205,829
Lancashire is among the cheapest rural areas for buying a house in the UK. It is a beautiful place, popular with tourists and locals, built on a medieval and industrial heritage. Being close to Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool, this is a good place for commuters too.
The average price for a house can be up to 205,829 pounds, with terraced properties that can be bought for an average of 145,709 pounds.
Cheapest Rural Areas for Buying a House in the UK: Carmarthenshire, Wales — £209,038
The only entry from the south of Great Britain, Carmarthenshire is one of the historic counties of Wales. Its three largest towns are Llanelli, Carmarthen and Ammanford, where house prices can get as high as 155,966 pounds, 214,113 pounds and 215,368 pounds, respectively. Such prices can also get lower to around 130,000 pounds, depending on the exact type of property.
Llanelli is the largest town in Carmarthenshire, overlooking Carmarthen Bay, the Celtic Sea, and the Gower Peninsula. Over the years, Llanelli has benefited from a renaissance and has become a popular suburban town in Swansea.
The village of Ammanford has many local cafes as well as Michelin starred restaurants. It is a popular rural place to live and offers an excellent quality of life. Meanwhile, Carmarthen has a quaint old town and a famous market that has been around for 800 years.
According to Numbeo, a one-bedroom apartment outside the city center of Carmarthen can be rented for 462.5 pounds per month, while an apartment with three beds in the city center can go as high as 900 pounds a month.
Cheapest Rural Areas for Buying a House in the UK: Northumberland, North East — £213,847
Northumberland is an area of sharply contrasting landscapes, from the agricultural eastern coastal plain and the sparsely populated rocky hills and swamps in the west to the densely populated urban and industrial areas of the Tyne and Blyth river valleys in the south.
The climate is cool due to northern latitude, altitude, and exposure to easterly winds. Winter is relatively cold, spring is late, while summer is cool.
The average price of housing in this area is comparatively higher among the cheapest rural areas for buying a house in the UK, but it’s worth its price. If you have a big budget you can consider this place for a house purchase.
Cheapest Rural Areas for Buying a House in the UK: Highland, Scotland – £218,807
Often referred to as the Highlands, this area is known for some of Scotland’s most picturesque sights. Many parts are still removed, which means that there are many areas of untouched wilderness.
For rural delights, home hunters should look into the Strathspey region. Expect to find a cluster of villages that lie along the River Spey and overlook the Cairngorm Mountains. Inverness is the only major city in the Highlands.
There is good news if you need help as a first-time buyer as you can find low house prices here.
With an average property price of around 218,807 pounds from the last 2021-2022 quarter to the 2022-2023 first quarter, house hunters can enjoy sweeping cliffs, sandy coves, and some of Europe’s best-preserved areas.
It is true that prices of real estate in the Highlands have surged in the last 20 years from just a little over 108,000 pounds in 2004, according to daily regional newspaper The Press and Journal.
Nevertheless, the figure remains significantly under the UK national average (and even the most expensive properties in the country that could hit well over a million pounds).
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