Cheapest Places in the UK to Buy 3-Bedroom Houses (2020)
Some of the Cheapest Places in the UK to Buy a 3-Bedroom House
- Grimsby, Lincolnshire
- Stanley, County Durham
- Rhondda, Glamorgan
- Leeds, West Yorkshire
- Belfast and Antrim
- Sheffield, South Yorkshire
- Swansea, South Wales
The True North-South Divide
For us Brits, the last few years have been a political shambles. The shadow of Brexit loomed large, wrecking careers, destroying friendships, and ripping apart old allegiances. Parliament became so focussed on in-fighting that the day-to-day business of running the country seemed to be of secondary importance. In the end a snap general election finally ended the parliamentary stalemate. The British public returned the biggest Conservative majority in decades. Now, at last, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has been able to honour the Brexit vote.
With Brexit dominating the front pages it has been all too easy to ignore the potentially devastating home-grown crisis in the housing market bubbling away on the back-boiler. Simply put, the dramatic leap in house prices over the last decade portends the kind of boom and bust that Gordon Brown once so famously promised to put an end to. With the stratospheric rise of the buy-to-let market coupled with a dramatic fall in the number of houses coming on to the market, it’s hardly surprising. Now with concerns over Europe added in to the mix, home owners in the UK's property hotspots are facing an uncertain future.
In the run up to the EU referendum, our former Chancellor, George Osborne, advised voters that a Leave result would put a serious dent in UK house prices. However, prices were already stalling in some of the areas below, even before Brexit was in the bag. It will be interesting to see what Sajid Javid, our current Chancellor of the Exchequor will do to address these issues. House price increases in some higher priced areas have already slowed, and in some cases reversed, whilst just a few up and coming areas are still steaming ahead.
Stamp Duty Land Tax has had a big part to play in the general stickiness of the housing market in the South and South-East. Unless you have a very good reason to move, or an overwhelming desire to give the Treasury a huge chunk of your savings, there really isn't any incentive to re-locate on a regular basis. Once upon a time, people in the UK would move on a whim. These days you need to be either desperate, reasonably wealthy or heading for one of the UK's cheaper regions.
Yes folks, it's true. Here in the London commuter belt, we pay extortionate prices for quite average homes, and then pay taxes on top for the privilege. Elsewhere in the UK, property prices are nowhere near as high, and as a result, there are huge numbers of home owners living in Britain who need never pay a penny to the government in Stamp Duty. For properties priced between £125,001 and £250,000, the duty is levied at just 2%. Beneath that price the duty doesn't exist.
The current government have tinkered around a little with the status quo. First time buyers are now exempt stamp duty so long as their first home is priced at less than £500,000. In an effort to deter hobby landlords, second home owners now pay extra Stamp Duty.
For average working families living in popular parts of central Sussex, the Surrey heartlands, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, and the London suburbs, property ownership comes at a very high price indeed. It could certainly be argued that ordinary working people buying in some of the areas listed below could easily afford to pay their share of property tax on their very reasonably priced homes thus relieving the pressure on more expensive areas. However, in the meanwhile at least, they come unburdened by this unfairest of taxes.
For those whose jobs are more mobile, there is a whole wealth of property readily available in cheaper areas of the UK. Here are fifteen places you might wish to consider in your search for an affordable three-bedroom house. All prices given were found on the Rightmove web-site, and are current for 2020.
Only interested in property in specific counties?
If you are reading this article secretly hoping to find property in a specific location in the UK, you may prefer to look at county by county house price reviews. At present these include Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Derbyshire, Devon, Essex, Hampshire, Kent, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, South Yorkshire,Sussex, Suffolk and Surrey. There are more in the process of being written, so do check back again if you can't see what you're looking for. All new updates are posted on social media under the Cheapest Places UK by-line.
Grimsby is a major sea port on England's East coast, lying on the South Bank of the Humber Estuary close to where it meets the North Sea.
The Grimsby–Cleethorpes conurbation provides the cultural and industrial focus for a large area of northern and eastern Lincolnshire. Despite its glum sounding name, Grimsby is a busy, vibrant town with a lively pub and club scene, a comprehensive shopping centre, and excellent transport links, including a small airport. However, the loss of the major part of its fishing industry in the 1990s and early noughties, left a massive legacy of unemployment which effectively depressed property prices in the town. Although job prospects are better than they were, it is still perfectly possible to buy a small, three bedroom house in Grimsby from around £38,000, with some DIY projects and tenanted buy-to-let properties coming in at a little less.
2. Stanley, County Durham
Stanley is a former coal-mining town in County Durham. One of the worst pit disasters in British history took place in Stanley in February 1909 when over 160 people were killed in a local coal mine.
There has been some serious investment in the town in recent times, including improved leisure facilities, a new swimming pool, and a solar-powered bus interchange. More improvements are planned, and Stanley already has a well-regarded performance venue, the Lamplight Arts Centre, which hosts events as diverse as boxing matches, comedy shows, and music gigs.The town has a good sprinkling of supermarkets, and there is a twice weekly market, held on Thursdays and Saturdays.
With the closure of the coal pits, and the loss of other major employers in the area, Stanley has been on hard times economically for much of the last twenty years, and local house prices reflect this. A basic three-bedroom terraced house can be bought here from around £40,000 (January 2020).
3. Rhondda, Glamorgan
In the Welsh Rhondda Valley, an area of outstanding charm and natural beauty, a three-bedroom terraced home can be purchased for as little as £50,000 through a traditional estate agency route, or for quite a lot less through property auction.. A search on Rightmove revealed several houses in Tonypandy, Maerdy and Ferndale, for around that figure, and there were a number of others, all advertised as being in good order, in the £50,000 to £55,000 price range. There are also numerous properties up for auction, some listed with start prices in the £30,000s. Some of the locations listed in this price bracket are Treherbert, Tonypandy, Maesteg and Port Talbot. This region has shown a steady rise in prices over the five years since I first compiled this list, although it still represents exceptional value compared to other parts of the UK
The Rhondda Valley was once famed for its many coal mines, but the closure of many local pits in the 1990s left a legacy of high unemployment. The plethora of low-priced homes for sale in this region is a reflection of the pain that these communities continue to feel. Served by the Taff Vale railway line, Tonypandy is the principle town of the Rhondda Valley, and has the greatest employment opportunities.
Lively Liverpool, with all its musical and artistic heritage, birthplace of The Beatles and Cilla Black, has a generous supply of reasonably-priced three-bedroom terraced houses. The lowest-priced examples I came across in this area are being offered at a little under £50,000, and there are a number of attractive, basic properties available in the Liverpool, Netherton and Bootle areas in the £55,000 to £65,000 price bracket. Shared ownership schemes seem to be popular in this region, and many reasonably priced brand-new homes come to the market offering 25% to 75% shared ownership.
In recent years, Liverpool has been transformed by an ambitious and far-reaching regeneration programme, and is now considered to be one of Britain's leading centres for culture and business. Although the generous supply of cheap housing seems to tell a different story, it may just be that the house prices are only temporarily lagging behind the bigger picture. Certainly, here as in other areas I've investigated, there has been a significant rise in house prices at the lower end of the scale, as buy-to-letters seek out fresh territories, and first-time-buyer schemes help more people onto the property ladder.
Stoke-on-Trent is well known for the numerous potteries that grew up in and around the town from the 17th century onwards. Wedgwood, Minton and Royal Doulton are among the more famous china manufacturers from this area, and the potteries, together with abundant local supplies of coal and iron, ensured the prosperity of the region for several centuries. More recently, however, with pit closures and the loss of numerous factories and steelworks, there has been a sharp rise in unemployment. Nowadays, local tourism opportunities are beginning to be exploited, and both the china works and the canal system draw their fair share of visitors to the region each year.
A three-bedroom terraced house in the Potteries area, in towns such as Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-Under-Lyme, can be bought for as little as £65,000 to £70,000. These lower end homes are often tenanted buy-to-let properties with a renter already in situ. A basic, untenanted semi-detached home, in good order, sells from around £75,000. Prices in this region have climbed steeply in the last two years, and early indicators suggest that there will be some solid increases in 2020.
6. Leeds, West Yorkshire
According to a recent census, Leeds is the third largest city, by population, in the UK. One of the biggest success stories of the Industrial Revolution, Leeds was once the thriving hub of a vast network of wool and linen mills. In more recent years, Leeds continues to enjoy a reputation as the cultural, financial and commercial heart of West Yorkshire.
My search revealed properties in the Bramley and Harehills areas readily available in the £75,000 to £85,000 price bracket. The low-end prices are a little higher in nearby Wakefield and Pontefract, but all show listings for comfortable, habitable properties around £100,000. A few miles away, in Bradford however, prices are considerably lower, and there are bargains to be had in the £60,000 to £70,000 price bracket.
My search on Rightmove (January 2020) turned up numerous three-bedroom properties priced at or below £75,000 in and around Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Three-bedroom houses priced at between £75,000 and £85,000 are plentiful in the Newcastle-upon-Tyne area of Tyne & Wear, particularly in Blyth, Cramlington, Sunderland and Jarrow,. Smart, modern semi-detached houses can be bought in this region from around £100,000. At the other end of the scale, in more favoured areas such as Fenham and Westerhope, spacious, attractive, detached and semi-detached homes are freely available at well under £240,000.
The port developed in the 16th century and, along with the shipyards lower down the river Tyne, became one of the world's largest ship-building and ship-repairing centres. These industries have since gone into decline, and today, Newcastle-upon-Tyne is largely a business and cultural centre, with a lively nightlife, and excellent shopping facilities.
8. Belfast and Antrim
Famous for being home to the shipyard that built the Titanic, beautiful Belfast has seen more than its fair share of problems over the years. The continuing sectarian conflict that has divided communities in this city is in sharp contrast, however, to the warm welcome that visitors receive here. Belfast has a vibrant and thriving city centre with great leisure facilities, historic sites to visit, fabulous shopping streets and excellent transport links. A comfortable three-bedroomed home in this lively, heritage city could be yours from as little as £100,000.
Historic Kingston-Upon-Hull, better known as just plain “Hull,” has poetic and theatrical links as well as a fascinating maritime past. Recent investment in urban regeneration has brought about much improvement in poorer areas in and around the city, but the property prices remain some of the UK's lowest. I found a number of three-bedroomed terraced houses advertised for sale priced at around £70,000, all within a ten-mile radius of Hull City Centre. Homes in the £75,000 to £85,000 price range are readily available. If you have a little more to spend, £260,000 will buy you a spacious detached house with good-sized gardens, in one of the better areas.
10. Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Industrious Sheffield, famous for its cutlers, and surrounded by some of Britain's most ruggedly beautiful countryside, is a city that has seen tough times in recent years. Like many of the areas listed in this article, Sheffield has seen employment prospects wax and wane, but it still remains a vibrant university city, with many galleries and museums to browse, and great sporting and leisure facilities. Three-bedroomed terraced houses can be bought for as little as £65,000, and there are a number available in the £70,000 to £80,000 price bracket both in Sheffield and in the surrounding towns and villages, especially in neighbouring Derbyshire. For other South Yorkshire towns, please follow this link.
Birmingham, in the West Midlands county of England, is the UK's second most populous city after London. Once at the forefront of the industrial revolution, Birmingham remains a major international commercial centre. It is home to no less than three universities, and is also the site of Britain's National Exhibition Centre. Despite its sprawling urban environment, Birmingham enjoys over 8,000 acres of parkland within its boundaries and has a fascinating and picturesque network of canals and waterways running through the city.
Three-bedroom houses in the Birmingham districts of Smethwick and Oldbury begin at around £100,000 (January 2020).
12. Swansea, South Wales
Swansea and Port Talbot can trace their roots back to the Stone Age. The Romans and the Vikings put their mark on these ancient settlements, and the people of these towns have been seafarers, ship-builders, merchants, and coal-miners. Situated on the edge of the beautiful Gower Peninsula, this part of Wales has much to recommend it, not least its property prices. Three-bedroom terraced homes can be bought for as little as £80,000.
House prices in Scotland vary greatly from area to area, and prices in some of the big cities such as Edinburgh and Glasgow are just as high, if not higher, than their southern equivalents. Dumfries, however, has a range of budget-priced homes available, and in January 2020 RightMove is listing several three-bedroom houses with guide prices (offering prices) from a little less than £55,000 for sale in this area.
Almost uniquely amongst the towns within reasonable commuting distance of London, Peterborough actually has 3 bedroom houses for sale from as little as £130,000.(January 2020) Yes, it's true, the cathedral city of Peterborough in lovely Cambridgeshire, is less than one hour away from London's King's Cross station by rail, and yet has somehow escaped the worst effects of the London ripple effect.
Peterborough is a modern city which has grown up around an historic centre. The city has all the facilities you would expect in a large urban area, as well as picturesque countryside close at hand.
Not quite the cheapest place to buy a house in Kent, but not too far off it! Incredibly for the South East, Chatham has quite a number of three-bedroom houses available to buy from around £175,000 (January 2020). Historic Chatham, famous for its dockyards, is on an easy train route into central London, making it an ideal location for commuters. If you are stuck in London, and are desperate to improve your accommodation in a more affordable location, then Chatham might be the place you are looking for. A few short years ago, three-bedroom houses in Chatham started at around £110,000. Prices have climbed steeply and fast in Chatham and the surrounding areas and are set to escalate with the completion of on-going regeneration projects.Historically, Chatham has been cheap for good reasons, however, the older areas are now seeing some serious gentrification.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
I am interested in getting to know more about Peterborough to buy a three bedroom property there in 2019. Do you have any tips?
I would recommend visiting the town and driving around to see which areas best suit your needs. Consider schools, transport links, proximity to healthcare, and crime statistics. All of the information is available online, but you can't beat seeing the area with your own eyes, and getting a feel for the neighborhood. There is always a reason why one area is more affordable than another. Often this has to do with employment opportunities, but many other factors can affect house prices, and it pays to do your research. What one person finds acceptable, or even desirable, might present a problem to someone else.Helpful 12
Where I am, the price for housing is way too high. The closest place to Milton Keynes mentioned in your article is Peterborough. Can I get more info about this town?
I would recommend visiting the town and driving around to see if the area suit your needs. Think about the things you might need such as good transport links, access to healthcare,schools and leisure facilities, and always remember to check the crime statistics. Everything you need to know is available online, but it's a good idea to visit in person, and get a feel for the neighborhood. Have a look on Rightmove and Zoopla to see what properties are available in your price range, and note down the names of streets and areas that seem promising.Helpful 9
If we absolutely have to move back to GB after the Brexit debacle where can we buy near Chichester for £100.000?
Sussex is a long way from being the UK's cheapest county for property, and Chichester is a very desirable location with many expensive homes within its boundaries. You might find the property prices further round the coast in Hampshire slightly more affordable. Towns such as Portsmouth, Gosport, and Southampton are cheaper than similarly sized Sussex towns. However, if forecasts are to be believed, prices are likely to plummet post-Brexit. It's all a waiting game. No-one knows for sure what the outcome will eventually be.Helpful 6
Which location offers the best buy to rent annual yield?
My interest is in house prices and how they vary from area to area. I have never researched this topic from a buy-to-let perspective.
From a purely logical viewpoint, I would anticipate that University cities and towns are always going to be good areas to invest in property-wise, and there are universities in most of the large urban areas. It is always best to do your own research but locations such as Sheffield, Derby, Manchester, Newcastle-on-Tyne might be a good place to start.Helpful 5
I am looking for a low-cost area for my family coming from Jamaica, which place will be more suitable for me?
Only you can know what you are looking for in an area. Large cities such as Birmingham, Leeds, Derby, Hull, and Sheffield are perhaps more likely to have jobs and be rich in cultural diversity than the Welsh valleys. The large urban areas in the North are cheaper than the towns and cities in the South of England, but even in the South prices can vary wildly from town to town. Research areas on Rightmove and Zoopla alongside job searches on Indeed and other job sites to see where the best opportunities are for you.Helpful 3
© 2011 Amanda Severn