Over the centuries, Leeds has grown from a small market town to the UK’s fourth largest city. It is considered to be the UK’s most successful business, financial and legal hub outside London.
If you are considering moving to Leeds, the various costs listed below will help you make an informed decision on what costs are involved when moving and living in the UK’s fourth largest city.
Quick Leeds Facts:
- Population: 782,444 (2017 estimate) in the city of Leeds. The West Yorkshire Urban Area is approximately 1.8 million.
- Official Language: English (de facto). At the last census, 92.9% of people in Leeds spoke English. The second most spoken language was Polish, followed by Urdu, Punjabi, Arabic, Chinese, Bengali, Kurdish, French and Persian/Farsi.
- GDP Per Capita: $51,510.54 USD
- Movies: The world’s first moving picture was made in Leeds in 1888, by French inventor Louis Le Prince.
- Currency: Pound Sterling or Great Britain Pound (£, GBP). As of early 2017, $1 USD = £0.80, €1 EUR = £0.85, $1 CAD = £0.61, $1 AUD = £0.62
1. Moving and Shipping Costs to Leeds
- London – £95+
- Australia (Sydney) – £2,248+
- Ireland (Dublin) – £240+
- USA (New York City) – £877+
- Canada (Vancouver) – £1,498+
- New Zealand (Auckland) – £2,646+
- Hong Kong – £527+
- Dubai – £1,682
- Singapore – £879+
2. Leeds Housing Costs
House prices in Leeds are expensive compared with the rest of northern England but reasonably priced compared with major cities around the globe. There is variety of detached houses, semi-detached and flats available.
Monthly Rental Prices in Leeds
- 1 bedroom flat (apartment) in City Centre: £550+
- 1 bedroom flat outside the City Centre: £400+
- 3 bedroom flat in City Centre: £800+
- 3 bedroom flat outside the City Centre: £500+
Leeds Home Purchase Prices
- Price per square metre (10.7 square feet) to buy in City Centre: £2,175+
- Price per square metre (10.7 square feet) to buy outside City: £1,790+
Leeds Housing Cost Comparison
This is how rents in Leeds compare with other cities around the globe.
London is 165.49% more expensive
New York is 285.43% more expensive
Los Angeles is 155.53% more expensive
Toronto is 53.10% more expensive
Sydney is 151.22% more expensive
Paris is 60.64% more expensive
Dubai is 181.68% more expensive
How to Save on Housing Costs
- Share a flat or house. There are plenty of house shares and flat shares available in Leeds, both in the city itself and in the surrounding suburbs. With a house share you will have your own room, or, for a cheaper option, you can share a room. The bathroom/s will be shared with other people in the house. There are many flats available for shared rental as well. Have a look on Leeds’ Gumtree page or Spareroom, Housepals or Easyroommate and find someone you can get on with to share the costs with you.
- Different areas – different prices. The most popular areas in Leeds are the suburbs of Horsforth, which is popular with young professionals; Chapel Allerton has something for singles and families; Roundhay with its parks is also popular with both families and singles. The newly developed Waterfront has lovely apartments for singles and couples with everything right on the doorstep. Headingly is full of students and cheaper. Alwoodley is one of the most expensive suburbs with beautiful houses.
3. Leeds Food, Grocery and Restaurant Costs
Leeds has a wonderful selection of restaurants, from good burger joints to Michelin star restaurants. Some of the more unusual ones include a Korean barbeque restaurant, Shears Yard with its ever-changing menu and Mans Market which is a Chinese restaurant with a difference.
There is a good variety of food shops, selling ingredients from all over the globe. However, do note that with the recent decline in sterling, a lot of imported food has increased in price, which has obviously pushed up restaurant prices.
- Inexpensive Restaurant: £8.00 – £15.00
- Takeout Coffee: £1.40 – £3.00
- Bottle of Coke: £0.75 – £1.80
- 1L of milk: £0.53 – £1.00
- Loaf of Bread: £0.60 – £1.20
- 12 Eggs: £1.30 – £2.00
- 1kg Chicken: £3.00 – £10.00
- 1kg Beef: £4.50 – £13.00
- 1kg Apples: £1.00 – £2.00
- 1kg White Rice: £0.45 – £1.50
This is how restaurants and food prices compare with other major cities in the world.
- New York restaurants are 48.49% more expensive and groceries are 85.43% more expensive than Leeds.
- Toronto restaurants are 2.30% cheaper and groceries are 15.39% more expensive than Leeds.
- Sydney restaurants are 9.28% more expensive and groceries are 45.17% more expensive than Leeds.
- Paris restaurants are 62.09% more expensive and groceries are 39.52% more expensive than Leeds.
- Dubai restaurants are 2.78% cheaper and groceries are 6.49% more expensive than Leeds.
Bonus Tips for Cheaper Food, Restaurants and Groceries
- Shop local: Leeds has some good specialist food shops and fresh food markets which are well worth a visit.
- Find Cheap Eats: TimeOut, Tripadvisor, The Guardian and Leeds List, all have their own guides to cheap eats in Leeds, which include everything from traditional Indian curries, through Thai street food, to Korean barbeques.
4. Leeds Alcohol Costs
Leeds is well known for its friendly, welcoming bars. It used to be the place to get a good pint of bitter and, while that is still the case, Leeds now has the reputation of being the UK’s craft beer capital.
The following is a list of basic prices of beer and wine from the supermarket and restaurants.
- Pint (0.6L) domestic beer at a restaurant/pub: £2.80 – £4.00
- Bottle of imported beer at a restaurant/pub (0.33L): £3.00 – £4.00
- Pint (0.6L) domestic beer at a supermarket: £1.00 – £1.75
- Bottle of imported beer at a supermarket: £1.00 – £2.00
- Mid-range bottle of wine at a supermarket: £6.00 – £8.00
How to drink for less in Leeds
- Keep an eye on the local papers and websites for specials over weekends and public holidays. Have a look at Drinkwithfrank and Leeds List for ideas of where to go for Happy Hour and good offers.
- Distrikt has Happy Hour on a Friday evening between 5 and 10 p.m. Epic Cocktail Club has great deals every Monday evening. The Brotherhood of Pursuits and Pastimes has amazing deals each Friday, including bottles of Prosecco for £15 and two cocktails for £10.
- Scour the areas around Leeds University and other tertiary institutions to find the best alcohol deals. Students always know where to go.
5. Leeds Transportation Fares
Leeds has an excellent transport system of buses and trains. If you live close to the city you will generally only use the bus system to get around but is you live further out, then the trains will be useful.
Leeds railway station is one of the busiest in the country. Being so central means you can get trains from Leeds to almost anywhere in the country. Go to www.wymetro.com to see the routes and ticket prices.
Here are some example ticket costs.
- Adult Single bus – £2.60
- One day ticket for bus and train – £8.20
- Monthly season ticket for bus and train (zone 1-3) – £110.50
- Yearly season ticket for bus and train (zone 1-3) – £1,138
How to save money on public transport
- A Metro Weekender ticket – 6 p.m. Friday to midnight Sunday – £8
- Family Day Rover – 2 adults + 3 children – £12.20
- Cycling is a good option.
- The city is not that big and exercise is always good.
6. Cost of Internet in Leeds
Internet in the UK is one of the few things that is cheaper than the US, Canada or Australia. Here are some sample broadband internet prices from early 2017 for unlimited downloads, based on a 12-month contract:
- Sky: £18.99 a month (Standard Broadband up to 17mb)
- TalkTalk: £20 a month (Standard Broadband up to 17mb)
- BT: £24.49 a month (Standard Broadband up to 17mb)
- Virgin Media: £32.25 a month (Fibre up to 50mb)
7. Cost of Clothing, Personal Items, Gym and Leisure
August is the hottest month in Leeds, with an average high of 15°C. The coldest month is January, where the average temperature is 3°C. It is also the wettest month with an average 73mm of rain falling during the month.
Like most places in the UK, rain is always a possibility, so it’s wise to carry an umbrella or a fold up waterproof jacket.
Here are some clothing prices, together with other useful prices.
- Pair of Jeans: £40 – £80
- Summer Dress: £20 – £45
- Running Shoes (Trainers): £40 – £70
- Business Shoes: £45 – £80
- Short Doctor’s visit (15 mins): £97
- Deodorant: £1.43
- Shampoo: £2.99
- Toilet Paper (4 rolls): £1.67
- Gym membership: £15 – £45 per month
- Movie (cinema) ticket: £8 – £11
8. Cost of Owning a Car and Driving a Car in Leeds
Parking is in short supply and expensive. So many people tend to use their cars for weekends or for work out of town.
If you’re moving to Leeds from within the UK, you’ll be able to keep your license but need to update your address to your new Leeds one.
If you want to exchange your foreign driver’s license you have to follow the process here. Note that you will need to prove you took your driving test in a manual transmission car. If you can’t prove it, you’ll only be able to exchange your license for an automatic.
Here are some other sample costs of owning and operating a car in Leeds:
- Volkswagen Golf: £16,000
- 1 litre (¼ gallon) of gas (petrol): £1.11
- Registration fee (if any): £55 one time
- Other fees (if any): No more than £54.85 for an MOT fee, after cars are 3 years old.
Ways to save money on driving in Leeds
- Car sharing or pooling is one way to save money. Try Bla Bla Car or Liftshare.
- Taxis can sometimes be a cheaper option, especially if you are going to have to park all day. Try Uber.
9. Taxes in Leeds
No matter where you live in England, you will pay the same rate of sales and income tax. To learn more about the different taxes – income, self-employment, business, capital gains etc, have a look at our moving to the United Kingdom guide.
Sales Tax, or VAT (Value Added Tax) is 20% in the UK and is added to most goods and services throughout the country. Unlike some countries, it is always included in the marked price.
Whether you own or rent your home, you will be subject to council tax based on the area in which you live and the size of the property you live in. Learn more about council tax in Leeds at Leeds tax.
Finally, if you decide to buy a flat or house in Leeds you’ll have to pay stamp duty. While there’s no tax on the first £125,000 of your home value, the marginal rate increases to 12% on a value of over £1.5 million.
10. Flight Costs from Leeds
If you do make the move to Leeds, here’s approximately how much it will cost to fly to other major world cities based on lowest, one-way fares from Skyscanner as of early 2017:
- New York: £200
- Los Angeles: £286
- Toronto: £228
- Vancouver: £314
- Dubai: £153
- Sydney: £460
- Melbourne: £440
- Cape Town: £397
- Hong Kong: £331
Other Leeds Relocation Tips
The costs and pricing above should give you a good idea of the cost of living in Leeds but perhaps the following extra tips will make your move go smoothly.
11. Moving to Leeds Alone
Moving anywhere is a challenging experience, but moving to a new city can be both challenging and lonely. Here are a few tips about settling into Leeds.
- Meetups: Leeds has lots of free meetup groups you can find on Meetup.com. Find like-minded souls who enjoy what you enjoy, whether it be hiking, wine tasting, books, you will find a group to join.
- Attend local events:There’s a lot going on in Leeds at any given time. Find out what’s going on from Timeout, Visit Leeds, Skiddle, Leeds List and What’s On.
12. Moving to Leeds with a Family
Leeds and the surrounding areas have a lot to offer families. Green suburbs, parks and good schools plus lots of countryside close by.
- New parents (or parents to be): Check out the local NCT Courses and NCT Events.
- Live in a family friendly area: Horsforth, Chapel Allerton and Roundhay are all considered good areas for families. Have a look at Leeds List for detailed descriptions of these areas.
- Find things to do with the kids: Day Out With The Kids, Visit Leeds, Leeds List and Picniq all have great ideas for activities and events your kids will love.
13. Moving to Leeds for Work
Leeds has enjoyed business growth of 39% over the last 10 years. The key industries in Leeds are distribution and logistics, IT, communication, financial and business services, public and health sectors and production and manufacturing.
Here are a few things to consider when moving for work:
- Salary. Although salaries are not as high as London, they are still very competitive. The costs we outlined above should give you a rough idea, how muchou’ll want to be making to make the move worthwhile. You can also check salary ranges on sites such as Glassdoor and Payscale.
- How to find work: There are some excellent recruitment agencies and websites to assist in getting a feel of what jobs are out there, the following sites are good places to start: Monster, Total Jobs, Gumtree, Reed.co.uk and Indeed. You may also want to google recruiters in your industry, as they can often help land you some initial interviews as well.
14. Moving to Leeds from Australia
Leeds attracts a fair number of Australians, although not as many as London, where there are 56,000 Aussies.
- Size comparison: The size of Leeds by population, puts it somewhere between the size of the Gold Coast and Adelaide. The West Yorkshire Urban Areas, with a population of around 1.8 million equates to the size of Perth.
- Join expat groups: Both InterNations and Exapt.com offer ways of meeting up with other Australians in Leeds.
15. Moving to Leeds from Canada
There is a Canadian contingent living in Leeds, so, if you’re considering making the move from Canada here are a few things to consider.
- Size: The population size of Leeds, puts it somewhere between the size of Quebec and Edmonton. If you look at the West Yorkshire Urban Area, the size is in between Ottawa and Vancouver.
- Expat groups: There are a few expat groups which will help you link with fellow Canadians. Have a look at InterNations, Expats Blog and Exapt.com.
16. Moving to Leeds from the United States
There are a number of Americans living in Leeds, enjoying life in this booming city. If you’re considering it, here are a few bonus tips:
- Size:Leeds population is somewhere between San Jose, California and Austin, Texas although the metro area is nearer the size of Houston.
- Expat groups: If you move to Leeds, or even before you move to Leeds, you can contact American expats through InterNations, American in Leeds, Yank in Yorkshire and Exapt.com.
Hopefully, the tips and costs above are helpful. If want to get started pricing out how much it will cost you to move to Leeds you can start by comparing moving quotes here.
Guides to moving and living in other UK cities