Why Live in Southampton?
Southampton is a coastal city in the UK, situated approximately 75 miles South-West from London. Southampton has a large dock where a large proportion of goods enter the UK and it’s where most major cruise companies sail out to Europe. This is also the very port where the famous Titanic sailed from. One thing you might not know is that, the cost of living in Southampton compares very favourably with London and some the UK’s bigger cities.
There are many good reasons to live in Southampton. The city has a great university that ranks high in national league tables attracting many students from all over the country as well as internationally. Many students stay in the city, like me, after completing their qualification as the area offers a lot of various job opportunities. Also, many people live in the area and commute to London for work, which takes only just over an hour on the train. This way they benefit from more affordable housing on a London salary.
What I love the most about Southampton is the location. There is a national park The New Forest where you can camp and meet wild ponies and donkeys on your hike, just outside of the city boundaries. The city itself does not have access to a beach but less than an hour away, you can find some of the most beautiful southern beaches of England such as Bournemouth beach.
The city itself has lots of good restaurants and a large shopping complex right in its centre. The new addition to the West Quay complex – the Watermark that was recently built includes a brand new cinema, Hollywood Bowl and many new restaurants.
Finally, it only takes 1.5 to 2 hours to get to any London airport where you can fly anywhere in the world!
Cost of Accommodation in Southampton
Southampton is not a cheap place to live compared to the North or Midlands. The close proximity to London, as well as many good job opportunities, makes the area very desirable.
The city has a huge choice of properties to rent. They are normally located within a walking distance of the city centre and attract students of Southampton and Solent Universities as well as young professionals and economic immigrants.
To rent a double bedroom in a shared house, it costs on average £550 with all utility bills included. A double bedroom with an en suite, private bathroom in a shared house in the city centre will cost £700 (bills also included).
Rental of one bedroom flat including a lounge, kitchen and bathroom will cost £700 excluding bills. A 3 bedroom house will cost between £900 and £1,500 excluding bills. The price will depend on the house standard and area of the city.
The most desirable parts of the city to live in include Ocean Village, Highfield, and Bassett. The least attractive areas are usually poor neighbourhoods with extensive council housing like Millbrook, Thornhill or Weston.
It is cheaper to own your property. You can get a decent bank loan if you can contribute 15% to 25% of the property value as deposit. An average 3 bedroom property in Southampton cost £290,000 and a mortgage repayment on a 75% loan would cost £800-£1,000 a month depending on personal circumstances and a credit score.
Cost of Utilities in Southampton
If you rent a room, bills are normally included. As an example, I will give you what I pay monthly for my 3 bedroom house based on 2 people sharing it. The first bill is council tax. It included bin collection, city tax, maintenance of public areas and services such as local police. An average monthly charge is £100 per house, I pay £140. The other monthly bills that I share with my husband include:
- Water bill- £30
- Electricity bill- £30
- Gas bill- £30 (it can cost up to £100 a month in winter to heat an old property)
- TV license – £12 (required by everyone that wants to watch TV or stream any TV programmes online)
- TV and Internet- £58
- House Insurance (only require if you own a house) – £50
- Mobile phone- £30-£70 per person
Southampton Transportation Cost
Most companies in the Southampton area are located outside of the city in Business Parks with no convenient public transport links. Therefore, most couples own two vehicles and commute to work independently. The inevitable outcome of that is rush-hour traffic jams. However public transportation links within the city itself are pretty reliable and frequent.
The monthly cost of transportation using your own car is as follows:
Petrol- £60 – £120 (I pay £120 commuting 40 miles a day in a small car)
Car insurance- £40
Service and yearly MOT- £300 (annual cost)
For those that live and work within the areas that are accessible by public buses, monthly bus ticket cost between £39 and £66.
Trains are very expensive in the UK. To get from Southampton to London by train, it cost £80 per person unless the ticket is purchased way in advance within some kind of promotion. An alternative to the train is National Express coaches. They take twice as long as the train but are way more affordable coasting on average half the train fair.
Taxis are also pricey, but are often the only way to travel back home from a night out and can cost between £10 to £30 for a single journey, depending on the area of Southampton.
Food and Eating Out In Southampton
Typical grocery shop costs will largely depend on where you make your weekly shop. The most affordable supermarkets are dominated by German brands- Aldi and Lidl. The British traditional stores Asda and Tesco occupy the middle range. And Waitrose and Sainsbury’s are at the high end. The weekly grocery shop can cost as little as £30 per person for a basic shop without alcohol and a minimal amount of animal products, and as much as £100 per person if you regularly drink and cook elaborate dishes.
It seems that the more fresh fruits and vegetables your diet contains, the more you spend on food. Organic produce is the most expensive. As an example, 4 organic apples cost £3 and a 180g of kale £1.60 in Waitrose.
Here are some grocery prices from a middle range supermarket:
- 2l of milk – £1
- A loaf of bread – £1.10
- 500g of cheese – £2.50
- 1kg of chicken breast – £5.50
- 10 bananas – £1.60
- 1 kg of apples – £2
- A bottle of decent wine – £10
- A bottle of Swedish cider- £3
- 1 Avocado – £1
- 400g of strawberries – £2
- When it comes to eating out, prices will hugely vary too. A take away for two from a local Indian shop including 2 curry sauces with rice and poppadums will cost about £20. A lunch consisting of a sandwich and a coffee will set you back about £10 per person.
A sit-down meal in a chain restaurant in Southampton city centre costs an average of £50 per couple. The meal will typically include 1 alcoholic drink per person, a starter or dessert and a main course. An average price of a main course is £15 with vegetarian meals being the cheapest and steak meals the most expensive costing at least £20. If you add a bottle of wine to your meal, you will be looking at a minimum of an additional £25. The cheapest places to eat are pubs, where you can eat for as little as £10 per person.
Shopping in Southampton
Southampton has a great shopping centre called West Quay. You can find all the well known and liked high streets shops there and the complex is so popular that it also attracts people from surrounding areas. It is especially busy at weekends. Expect to pay an average of £30 for a top, £45 for a pair of trousers, £90 for a winter jacket and £60 for a pair of shoes.
Entertainment Costs In Southampton
The city has many good fitness clubs. A membership that includes unlimited access to gym studio, daily fitness classes, swimming pool and a free parking cost around £40 per person. Whereas, single entry to a swimming pool, a gym studio or an hour of yoga class costs £5 to £10.
Food festivals are a popular form of event in the area. They are normally free or cost a nominal price for entry for example £5. An example of this is the Southampton Vegan festival or a Thai festival. They normally involve some sort of live music, food trucks, and handcraft sale.
- Cost of Living in Leeds Per Month
- What Does It Cost to Live In Portugal
- Cost of Living in Auckland, New Zealand
Southampton has two multi-screen cinemas in the city centre- Odeon and Showcase. An adult ticket to see a standard movie cost of £10 per person and if you add popcorn and a drink with it, the price can easily double.
There also is a Mayflower Theatre offering a range of different shows. An adult ticket varies between £30 and £40, depending on the day and spectacle type.
The city has a great nightlife. There are a few areas where a good night out is guaranteed including Bedford Place, Oxford Street and Ocean Village. An alcoholic drink will vary in price between £3.50 and £7. A few bars like Turtle Bay has happy hours on cocktails where you can get 2 cocktails of the same sort for £7.
If London prices are starting to get too scary, check out the cost of living in Southampton, UK. You might just like what you see.